I was almost twelve when I got my ears pierced. It was a rite of passage, and I was pleased with my little stud earrings. My ears didn’t heal properly, though, and I had issues with an infection and the holes trying to close themselves up for months. It turned out that I was allergic to the metal in the earring and I needed to switch to solid gold. So my mother, even though we were tight on money at the time, bought me gold posts instead. And my grandparents bought me beautiful birthstone posts for my birthday, that were not meant to be worn every day.
Fast forward several months, and I had already lost one of my everyday gold posts, thus having to wear my peridot earrings every day. I had gotten cast in a touring production of the ballet Hansel and Gretel, and while on tour, we accidentally left my earrings on a music stand in the room we were dressing in. My mom called the following day to see if anyone had turned them in, but they were lost forever. So, knowing that I had to have gold earrings, she pulled out the earrings in the photo above for me. They were my great-grandmother’s earrings brought with her from Sicily in the 1920s. My mother warned me to take Very Good Care of these earrings, being an heirloom. And I did. My ears stopped trying to heal themselves over after a while, and I would switch out my earrings daily, but these were the pair I wore the most and that I slept in to make sure the holes wouldn’t try to close themselves in my sleep.
Fast forward to 2007, when I lose the earrings in southern CA. I had them on my desk and then they were gone. I searched everywhere, feeling sick to my stomach, but to no avail. Then when we moved apartments in spring 2008, I searched again. Still nothing. I put out a heartfelt wish to the universe that I would be incredibly grateful if they somehow ever found their way back to me, even while acknowledging how impossible such a task seemed. I assumed they had somehow fallen in a crack or under the carpet or our cat had swiped them and were lost forever.
Yesterday, I come home from work, and I saw one of the earrings sitting on the butcher block in the kitchen. I asked my husband about it, and he said he had found it while unpacking and sorting through a bin of art supplies. In that bin was a canvas papercraft organizer that I had sitting next to my desk in CA, and even though I’ve been through that organizer multiple times over the years since, it seemed that at least one earring had worked its way in so deeply that I never saw it. He showed me where he had put all the papers that had been in the organizer in our new art cabinet, and a few hours later, shrugging my shoulders at the likelihood of finding the match, I started sifting through. By the time I had gotten 1/4 of the way down the pile, I had found it. After over 8 years of thinking them lost forever, I had my great-grandmother’s earrings again. And I’m of course wearing them today.
It’s funny, because of course they’re just a “thing”, not even worth very much if I were to try to resell them (though because they are a unique design in that they enter from behind and hook in the front, there may be value there). But in many ways, it feels like a blessing from my great-grandmother on the house and the next chapter of our lives. And as I’m having a daughter, it’s nice to know that I now have something sentimental to pass on to her someday.