My grandmother had a career at a time when few women worked outside the home. She was a school teacher in a one-room school house. She loved children, but she was also one of the first women in my hometown to own her own automobile. She seems in some ways like a beacon of early feminism, of independence.
During this time of independence, she was engaged to my grandfather. For TWELVE YEARS. My grandfather was waiting for his older brother (whose care he was charged with) to die before marrying my grandmother. It was a matter of fiscal responsibility. My grandmother and grandfather waited and waited and waited. The older brother finally did die, but by then my grandmother was 40, and could only have one child. She settled into a very traditional homelife with a man who often spoke sharply to her.
This is the ring she wore while she waited. It looks like it has a normal sized diamond in the center, but it’s actually a little chip of a diamond put in a setting designed to make it look bigger. I haven’t quite unravelled the symbolism here. Is the tiny diamond representing her life before my grandfather, or her life with him? Is it the waiting, or the getting? Why can’t it just be a ring to me?
Tags: children, grandmother, ring, teacher, waiting
Other People's Thoughts
i wonder if it was ever just a ring to your grandmother…if she had the same thoughts as you.
the setting is much more interesting than the diamond itself. more symbolism?
your grandmother’s story hits close to home. thank you for sharing.
— am Monday May 1, 2006 #
It sounds like your Grandmother was an amazing woman. It’s sad that she wasted the best years of her life waiting for a man who ended up being a bitter disappointment.
— Maria Saturday May 6, 2006 #
I am sure your grandmother was an amazing woman and I am happy for her that she was given the opportunity to have a child. Being a mother (no matter how many children a woman has) is a priceless gift. I am sure that when your grandmother looked into the eyes of her child, so much of her initial disappointments were washed away. How truly special you must be to your grandmother to be the recipient of this ring…
— Carla Monday April 23, 2007 #
What a beautiful and unusual ring. My grandmother just passed away and I am looking for a symbol to remember her by. I looked up Grandmother Ring and your blog popped up. Thank you for sharing this great story.
— Clare Wednesday August 8, 2007 #
The Saddest Thing I Own is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It is supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable contributions of artists to society.