My Keepsake Locket
I don't have a lot of jewellery, and hardly ever wear what do I have, except the cross my husband gave me for our fortieth wedding anniversary. The rest are keepsakes - small pieces I've kept that once belonged to my mother or grandmother, or that were given to me and I have kept them as a reminder of the person. Most of them will probably be passed on to my children some time in the future.
The other day one of my adult children mentioned a locket. The first thing I thought of was the old nursery rhyme:
'Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon 'round it.'
Which, of course, is not really about a locket at all, but about a fabric purse that was tied at the waist in far-off ancient days, and was called a pocket before what we call pockets was invented.
Then, when I went home, I decided to hunt for my keepsake locket. I used to wear it a lot, but rarely these days. It brought back some memories.
Firstly, I came across the gold coloured one pictured above. It has my initial on it, but I can't even remember who gave it to me. No, that wasn't my special keepsake, although it does still look so new and shiny - in fact, so shiny I can see my hands reflected in it as I took the photo.
Yes, this was the one that has so many memories. I sat there with it in my hand as my mind went back to my early twenties.
Now a locket is a small ornamental case that is used to hold an item of sentimental value, such as a lock of hair or a tiny photo. It is usually worn on a chain and hung around the neck and that was what happened with my silver locket, too.
This is the story of how my locket came to be hung around my neck and what had been hidden inside.
Toorak Teachers' College had been such fun. I had been at a girls' school (well, we were actually supposed to be 'young ladies') and now there were lots of young men. Dating was a new experience and in between studies I made many new friends. At our final Ball I met a student from Melbourne Teachers' College and over the summer holidays we met several times.
Then it was down to the serious work of preparing to teach. I had been fortunate enough to have obtained a permanent position as Assistant Teacher in a two-teacher school. However, before the school year began, I was notified that the Head Teacher had resigned and there was already a married woman who taught the 'infant' classes (in those days when a woman teacher married she went to the bottom rung of the ladder and stayed there). She would remain and I would be a temporary Head Teacher - in charge of Years 3 to Post-Primary (Year 9).
All those levels to prepare for really kept me busy, innumerable lesson plans to be recorded; work for each class to be written up on the blackboard, usually the night before, many forms to be filled out, and replies to be written to official government letters to the Head Teacher, which always began
Part-way through the year the position was advertised, I was doing the job after all, so applied, and, hey presto! I was a permanent Head Teacher of a two-teacher school!
I loved the work and my students, but there was scarcely time to relax in the term holidays - until the long summer holidays at Christmas. Then I caught up with that Melbourne Teachers' College student - so much so that we became engaged.
My parents were horrified. Dad said,
"I thought you were going to be a career girl."
Mother said much worse: I was much too young to know my own mind, he was immature, etc, etc.
Eventually, to keep the peace we accepted that the engagement would be secret for three months. They were so sure it was 'mere puppy love' and would be over in a matter of weeks. I agreed to not wear my ring for the three months.
It seemed an age ahead of us. One day, on the way home from work, I visited Kosminsky's Antique Gallery in the city. The attendant understood my need and showed me a lovely little silver antique locket and my ring fitted inside it perfectly. I left it in, so 'wore' my ring home - and for the rest of the three months. It may not have been visible, but I knew I was wearing it.
At the end of the time we were more in love than ever, my parents accepted it, we had a fairly small engagement party and were engaged for a whole year before our lovely wedding.
As I continued to reminisce I looked at the locket in my hand and opened it.
Yes, it was still there: I had replaced the ring with a tiny photo of my beloved, and there he was, still looking so young and handsome.
Your Jewelleryview quiz statistics
© 2018 Bronwen Scott-Branagan