This is a little different than what I usually post, but still in the same spirit. I was inspired by the Weekly Challenge from WordPress and wanted to try my hand at it. The challenge was to take something mundane and make it meaningful. Hopefully I’ve succeeded. Let me know what you think.
I was digging through my box of earrings this morning, thinking–as I do every day–that I need to be more organized about these kinds of things. I have a jewelry holder, but most of the time I take my earrings off when I ‘m done with them and toss them in the box anyway. It’s a habit I inherited from my mother.
Most days, I go through a few pairs to find the best earrings for my outfit only to decide on one of the same three pairs I always wear. Today, I went on an expedition in my tray of little-worn earrings because I had some extra time. As welcome as it is to be on vacation, I’ve found myself filling my boredom by playing dress-up (anything to stave off adulthood).
As I excavated the broken and forgotten jewelry in the box on my vanity, I found an old pair of earrings: dangling cartoonish pig heads.
They belonged to my older sister when I was a kid. Every time I’d see them, smiling at me as they dangled on her tidy jewelry display, I’d grin. I remember anticipating the day when she would let me wear them.
My sister is seven years my senior, which made her much wiser–and bossier–than many older sisters. If we went to a store that sold glass figurines of any sort, my sister would keep her eye on me to make sure I didn’t touch anything. She also refused to let me borrow any of her jewelry, even after I got my ears pierced. My sister assumed I would break them or lose one. Although she may have been right, not sharing seemed wrong in my five-year-old mind. I never even liked pigs, but I wanted the pig earrings; it was probably because she wouldn’t let me have them that I wanted them so much.
I’ve worn them only a few times that I remember since my sister gave them to me almost a decade ago. By that point, they’d become an object of fascination more than fixtures of the jewelry collection of my dreams. I wanted them just to have them: my forbidden treasures.
I found it odd that my sister would own something that, when worn, would draw a comparison between two rosy pig faces and her own visage. It’s possible she just had a thing for farm animals. After all, her favorite stuffed animal was a cow named Plunket. He had a buzz cut and made a “moo” sound when we turned him upside down. My sister showed me how to shake him back and forth to distort the sound. We’d laugh at poor Plunket’s expense. That was our sense of humor back then.
Though I’m fairly certain my sister did not have an Old MacDonald complex, I also don’t believe she was concerned with the fashionability of her pig earrings. Instead, she wore them with a sense of humor. The same sense of humor that all my family members share. Like my mother’s disorganization, I inherited my sense of humor. My sister and two brothers helped me cultivate it throughout my childhood.
When I fished the earrings out of my jewelry entanglement this morning, I smiled at them. Because my sister lives on the other side of the country, I don’t see her very much anymore. My days of longing after her earrings and throwing a stuffed cow around are far behind me. All I can do now is play dress up with her earrings and pretend she’s chastising me for touching her things. But they aren’t her earrings anymore. They’re our earrings, our shared sense of humor.
Do you have any objects that remind you of someone?