Have you ever held onto a physical item so closely in hopes to preserve the impact that it has on you? Have you ever been given something by someone who you no longer have in your life, but find yourself cherishing often? The kind of meaningful that you could never bare to part ways with that thing, regardless of how others see it (or don't see it).
I could probably write about a different meaningful object I have every day for a month and still have items to talk about. But as I was thinking on this more, one of the first things that came to mind for me are my grandmothers golf clubs.
My grandmother lived on a country club for all of my childhood. My grandfather, her husband, loved to play golf. He was in leagues, travelled to play, and enjoyed many fond memories on beautiful courses both for leisure and for business. A few years after they moved to the country club he got my grandmother her own set of 1999 Wilson clubs. He helped set her up with the prettiest balls, sleek white gloves, all the nice ladies golf clothing and so much more just so she could play the whole part. My grandmother was not known for doing anything half-assed. Despite these efforts, my grandfather recalls that he only saw her out on the course a few times, yet she recounts that she "took up playing golf" for many years. I tend to side with my grandfather on this one.
I do know that one of the times she did use those clubs was with me when I was around 10 years old. I remember she was babysitting me for a couple of days. She needed to fill the time, so what better thing to do than play golf with a completely uninterested 10 year old who's patience level was already at a negative?
So here I am, 10 years old, standing a measly 4' something from the ground, attempting to play what I considered to be a grandparents sport with clubs sized to a 5'6" woman and a grandmother who had no idea what she was doing - but she looked damn cute. Needless to say I hated it. I was certain I never wanted to play golf again... That was until I met a partner in my early twenties who loved to play golf. He was in leagues, travelled to play, and enjoyed many fond memories on beautiful courses both for leisure and for business. Does that sound familiar?
I went to my grandparents because I knew they held onto a lot of things and golf is already a very expensive sport to play. My grandfather's face lit up with excitement at the thought of his granddaughter picking up his favorite hobby. He told me he wished his hips weren't so bad so he could be out there teaching me himself. He and my grandmother excitedly handed me those 1999 Wilson clubs with size 8 women's golf shoes zippered inside the bag, my exact size (unused, might I add), a few unopened boxes of pretty balls and off I went to play the whole part and pick up where my grandmother left off.
I took a liking to it right away. That summer I would practice at their course regularly, always making sure to stop and say hi when I'd play the hole just outside of their condo. Of course I was always adorned in my grandmothers plaid Lizgolf windbreaker and her matching white Wilson shoes.
When I had those accessories on or held those clubs, I felt my grandmother. I felt the memories of growing up there and the ironic hatred I once had for the sport as a child. I felt her excitement to learn something new that meant so much to the person she loved. I felt her commitment to be great at it from the start. Those clubs gave me confidence, comfort and an immense sense of closeness to her.
My grandmother started developing Alzheimer's 2 years prior to that summer. As the months went on and I passed by their back porch, she'd light up with excitement like a kid and tell me the same stories like she hadn't just told me that exact thing a week before. This continued as I got better and played more and she got worse and spent less time on the back deck. I made fewer stops at their back door out of fear of having to remember her that way. Shortly after, they could no longer live in the condo anymore because my grandmother needed additional care and I stopped playing on that course. But I kept the clubs and everything that came inside of those zippered pockets and went on my way.
Though it's been years since I've played golf, seven years and almost 10 moves later, I still have the clubs and every zippered pocket in the bag is still full. Her Lizgolf windbreaker still has a place in every closet I've filled and emptied and I'm confident the next time I hold the clubs or wear that jacket I will be ignited with the same feelings I did years ago.
I truly believe we are charged by the power of objects. Their meaning made me so much more grateful for them. For everything they had done for me. The clubs and my grandparents.
When we allow ourselves to see, feel, and understand the meaning in things, we appreciate them more. As life passes by fast, I find myself grabbing at as many of those things that I can cherish forever. People and detailed memories come and go, but these physical items can stay with us for a lifetime.
I think about so many of my own experiences when I am designing jewelry for my clients. How can we get as much meaning into a piece that prompts you to look down at it and feel charged? How can we ensure that this piece will follow you through every move and every jewelry box for years to come and not be forgotten? Or how can we take a piece of your grandparent's jewelry and recreate it to be a timeless design for you, but still possess the same power that it did for them in it's original form?
Designing jewelry has given me an outlet to think more about the details that matter. We are creating something to represent us, carry on our bodies, and ultimately impact us in even the small ways.
I continue to value the meaning in everything I do. And when we sit down together, I love hearing about what matters to you, too.