We have our first entry in our 2nd annual contest — from reader Julie Rogers. It’s perfect.
She kind of looks like Al Gore, but someone loved her
I found this locket in the dollar bin at a thrift shop in Oswego, Ill. The moment I opened the locket, I knew it had to come home with me. It’s beat up, it’s worn and the metal isn’t worth anything, but the person peering out from photo … well, it’s a face only a family member could love. Someone had loved that face so much that they carried it near their heart for so long that the locket’s gold-coating is worn off in spots.
The initials on the front are JLR. When I bought it, I was pleased I shared the same first initial with the wearer. (She’s Jennifer Laura to me.) Now, I’m married, and I share the same first and last initial with the wearer. My last name is so common, I have to wonder if it was Jennifer’s too.
I frequently imagine the background of this family when I wear the locket on a new chain. I figure it must be the wearer’s mother. I imagine the daughter starting a new life with her husband, but still needing a memento of the childhood she left behind. That childhood includes a large Irish brood, in my head, but mom still scraped enough together from egg money to buy this wedding gift. (I have them be Irish because there’s an image not unlike a clover on the back.)
Or, if you squint, it’s entirely possible that this is actually a man. Maybe he gave it to the woman he loved when he had to be far from her, hoping to secure her affections till he could make his fortune and return. If that’s the case, it must have worked, because someone wore it for a long time.
I suspect if I popped the photo out, there might be info on the back. But I’m scared I’ll learn the story and be disappointed. The romance of holding, wondering and wishing isn’t something I want to lose.
When I bought it, I was so sad that someone so loved ended up in a dollar bin. It won’t happen again as long as I’m alive.