Lucky charms

11 Sep

When it was clear that my grandmother was dying, she told me I could have anything of hers that I wanted.

She lay on the chaise lounge in her bedroom and gestured broadly to emphasize the anything.

She had spent a lot of her life collecting Chinese antiques and beautiful jewelry – sapphire necklaces, platinum watches, an amethyst and diamond ring as big as my knuckle. I was pretty sure there was a fur or two in her house as well. It was a modest rowhouse — but in its cupboards, you could find beautiful crystal, china, and engraved silver from Kirk & Son.

I chose a rhinestone brooch. Rectangular, maybe from the ’40s or the ’50s, its glittering jewels curled into a scripted monogram of her initials – HMG. Helen Myra Gregg.

"HMG" stands for Helen Myra Gregg.

“HMG” stands for Helen Myra Gregg.

It was probably worth 50 bucks. But it had her initials, so I wanted it. I pinned it to my wool coat and wore it until the snow melted and it was time to put away my winter clothes.

I blamed my inability to choose anything else on the fact that I had flown in from Montana, and all I had brought was a carry on. But inadequate luggage had hardly stopped me during back east shopping sprees. I had solid friends at the UPS Store.

I just wasn’t ready to divvy up the goods. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye or to let her go. I wanted to carry my grandmother with me wherever I went. So I did. My heart wasn’t on my sleeve, it glittered on my lapel.

Lucky charms.

I tend to wear mine. Some people have lucky numbers or lucky rituals. Others have lucky key chains or lucky mugs. A dashboard Jesus or an auto dream catcher. While it’s true that I have a prayer card in my wallet with the Virgin of Guadalupe, I much prefer the luck that I can wear.

It's the first day of school and I am wearing a scarf that one of my students gave me. That brought luck.

It’s the first day of school and I am wearing a scarf that one of my students gave me. That brought luck.

I have a bracelet with my children’s names on it, which I wear whenever they are facing a big challenge or I just want to keep them close in my heart – when they travel or when they have a big game or tryout.

I have a silver bracelet that says “Baltimore” which I wear when the Ravens play or when I go to an Orioles game. I like it so much that I gave one to my sister for her birthday.

(I am a word person, so it probably isn’t surprising that my favorite lucky charms have letters or names on them.)

And I still have the pin from my grandmother. I still have it even though she died eight years ago and I now live in her house. Even though I have inherited a few pieces of that silver and crystal. Plus the hideous black lacquered Chinese cupboard that really doesn’t match the rest of my dining room furniture.

I still have it and I still wear on it on the days when I want that extra little bit of luck or grace. Or kindness from the universe.

It remains my favorite lucky charm.


One Response to “Lucky charms”

  1. Mike Stolarski September 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM #

    That is a great little insight into your life.

    My Grandfather was a Mechinist at the shipyard downtown, from the 40s to the 80s, and he made his own fishing weight mold. I have it sitting in my TV room today.

    Catch up with you soon re: The Reunion.

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