Heirlooms

"2 : something of special value handed on from one generation to another " – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

her ring ~

on October 30, 2013

Grandma and grandpa were married for 66 years before grandpa died in 1998. As grandma told it to me, grandpa had been living with grandma’s family as a border during the depression. They were dating by then but it was the depression and great-grandma needed to rent out rooms to make a little extra money. Times were lean.
Grandpa was working as a truck driver and had a day trip scheduled to Danville, Illinois. After a little plotting and planning, grandma and grandpa convinced great-grandma Herron to let her eldest daughter, Evelyn, go with her boyfriend, Gene, on that day trip. While they were in Dayton that day, February 12, 1932, they eloped.

Grandma & Grandpa Conn

Grandma & Grandpa Conn

Grandma told me that they didn’t even tell great-grandma Herron right away. They knew she would insist that they move out of her home and start a home of their own. But she needed the border money and they couldn’t afford their own place right away, either.
Within a few months, grandma and grandpa were expecting and the elopement had to be shared.
Grandma and grandpa had run off together to a justice of the peace in Dayton, Ohio, with no family or friends to witness this event in 1932. Fifty years later, we all gathered together to witness the renewal of their wedding vows in the sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran, where they had worshipped together for all of their married life but where they had never married. We all came up to their unity candle and lit our own candles from theirs. By the time all their children, spouses, grandchildren and grand-spouses, and a few great-grandchildren had all lit our candles, there were over 40 of us snuggled together in the small chancel.
Grandma was delighted as she looked around her beloved sanctuary at her family gathered there. She exclaimed, “Look how blessed we have been!” And grandpa responded, without missing a beat, “We’d a been blessed any more, we’d a burnt down the church!” A classic grand moment!
It was around that same time, that grandma stopped wearing her wedding ring. The ring had worn through so that the gold band on the back of the ring was very thin and fragile. Two of the small diamond chips in the ring had been lost and much of the engraving around the diamond edges had worn down. Grandma could not find a jeweler who could guarantee a strong and attractive repair of her ring at that time in Logansport, so grandma took it off, set it aside, and then, it was lost.
After grandma died, mom and my brother were cleaning out a small desk and found the ring wedged in the edge of a drawer. Still worn thin, still in need of repair, mom gave the ring to me. Grandma’s small hands wore a size 4 ring and I wear a 3.5.

Grandma's Wedding Ring

Grandma’s Wedding Ring

In the spring of 2002, I took the ring to a reputable jeweler where we were living in the suburbs of Chicago. He repaired the band and replaced the diamond settings, one with a new diamond and the center with an amethyst, grandma’s birthstone.
I remember that I hesitated to wear it at first. I didn’t want to ruin it. But then my mother-in-law convinced me that it was a very touching remembrance of my grandparents and that I could always have it repaired again if necessary.

So, here it is, 81 years later, simple, lovely and strong. A daily reminder of their life and love, I wear grandma’s wedding ring next to my own.

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2 responses to “her ring ~

  1. Cathy Schaefer says:

    Another wonderful essay full of awesome memories…. I’m glad to know that you have Grandma’s ring! I don’t recall ever seeing it before, but I love that you are wearing it now.

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