I've been burglarized for the tenth time. They (there were two empty beer bottles left in our house) took the last remnant of my childhood - which was not particularly happy. But it had its moments, like when my aunt sent me that charm bracelet, the one that was stolen. I was pretty young, and a silver bracelet was really special. It came with a dog charm on it, not like the dog I had, but a dog.
My family didn't get along very well, except when we went on vacation. For some reason, we all had a good time. We'd travel to resorts where adults and children could go their separate ways in a safe, confined setting. I liked to buy charms for my bracelet to remember those good times.I have an orange crate, with oranges in it, from our trip to Miami Beach, back when the Fountainbleu was the only luxury hotel on the beach. I bought a big sombrero charm in Puerto Vallarta, when the Posada Vallarta was the only resort on the beach. I was 13, I remember, and liked to flirt with the boys without my glasses on, so I never really saw what anyone looked like. We went to California that same year to visit my father's mother. We only saw her once every 5 or 10 years. I bought a dolphin charm at Sea World to remember that trip. My grandmother is dead now.
My brother decided not to buy presents for Christmas after he went to college; he said the holiday was too commercial. But before that, he had been pretty generous. He bought me two things that I remember well - a rabbit's foot, that I am sure helped me get "A's" in high school Latin; and a silver cat for my bracelet. It was a modern cat - flat and very geometric.
I can't remember where the Buddha charm with the jade belly came from. He had a happy smile. The sailboats were presents and reminded me of the only thing my father and I ever did together for sport - sailing. He was captain and I his crew. Dad sold the sailboat shortly after I left for college. No one wanted to crew for him anymore. The guitar charm simply represented me. That was my instrument. I loved to play and write songs. My mother would show me off to her mother whenever Grandmother Becky visited us from Montgomery, Ala. She's gone too, like the gold bracelet she gave when I graduated from high school which was taken in the first burglary.
I was older when I bought the trolley car charm. I lived and worked in New Orleans - a yeoman in the Coast Guard. I rode the trolley to work every morning. I remember the old men under the newspapers in the doorways. They were always there, every morning when I got off that trolley and walked the last two blocks to our office building. Later, the Coast Guard stationed me in Salt Lake. And on a trip to Elko with a friend I won a $10 jacketpot on my three dollars worth of nickels. I went right to the gift shop and bought a slot machine charm, so I wouldn't put the money back.
They are gone now. Someone broke our bedroom window and took my bracelet, along with Budd's camera equipment. He's a professional freelance photographer. I suppose he's out of business for awhile until we finish the insurance paperwork. We'll get another camera someday - maybe even a better one. But it won't be the one he bought specifically to take on our first big trip together to Rio. I was going to take my binoculars downtown to watch the peregrine falcons. At least my little camera didn't have any film in it. I take pictures for memories, unlike Budd who does it for art.
I have heard that you can't take it with you, so why worry about material possessions. I didn't want to take it, I wanted to choose someone to have it next. Someone who would understand its meaning and enjoy the memories, too. Someone who would be reminded of me.
They don't manufacture charms like the ones I had. I know. I have a friend who is a jeweler, and I borrowed his catalog. Chances are, the thief has tried to sell my bracelet. When the pawnbroker asked him for I.D., he probably took it to a jeweler who melted it down for its silver. Or, if he couldn't sell it, he gave it to a girlfriend.
No, you can't take it with you. But if you retain anything, it is your memories. I will remember that my charm bracelet was stolen - the same year I lost my home and our cat died.
If anyone finds it, I'd like to buy it back. I recall there were a few other charms: a one-second "hour" glass, a graduation cap, a medallion of some sort. I may have forgotten some of the charms already. I would like to have my bracelet back to refresh my memory over and over, as long as I live.