The Locket

It was gold and heart-shaped with delicate designs etched on its front. My dad gave the locket to my mother in 1943, two years before their wedding. He was in Army basic training in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he bought it from a small jewelry store for the love of his life. The locket opened to reveal two pictures, that of my dad on the left side, my mom on the right. I don’t know if the pictures were taken in 1943 or in 1945 when they wed; they’re both gone now so I can’t ask. But the pictures were of them, nonetheless, reminders of another day and age and of the love they had shared from childhood.

While growing up, my sister, Debbie, and I cherished the times Mother would allow us to wear her locket. It was only on very special occasions—after which the necklace had to be immediately, and carefully, returned to her jewelry drawer. How we loved that locket.

The weekend of my mother’s funeral, Daddy asked Debbie and me to go through her jewelry and take what we wanted. Most of it was cheap costume jewelry; the locket itself couldn’t have been worth too much in monetary terms because my father was never a wealthy man. My sister took Mother’s diamond wedding rings, the original tiny one plus the more expensive one my dad bought her years later. Debbie’s sons were older, closer to marrying age, and she knew they could use the diamonds to honor their brides.

But then we got to the locket–which we both wanted. So neither of us took it. We didn’t debate or argue or cry. We held it and looked at it, reminisced about how special it was, then returned it to the drawer and let it be.

A couple months later, Christmas of 2000, I was shocked to find that Daddy had wrapped the locket and put it under the tree for me. I was concerned my sister would be upset, but then Daddy told me there was a condition: the locket was to be passed to my daughter, Jenni, my mother’s only granddaughter and her semi-namesake (my mother was called Gennie.) That felt right. And good. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I gave the locket to Jenni in 2012 on her wedding day. It became the “something old” that’s part of every bride’s attire. I fastened it around her neck when she was dressed in her beautiful gown, preparing to marry the love of her life.

The gold heart-shaped locket was once again signifying a precious couple’s great love, which was only right. And so very, very good.

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