One of my favorite friends in high school wrapped yarn on the underside of her boyfriend’s class ring so it would fit her finger. Another threaded a chain through and wore it around her neck.
In 1980, wearing class rings was still popular in high school, whether it was your own, or someone else’s, in some symbolic rehearsal for married life.
I brought home the order form to Grandmother and gushed about my choice. I would not get my birthstone, like everyone else. Instead, I longed for October’s Rose zircon set in a delicate gold band. In Grandmother’s jewelry box were many rings with these types of stones. We shared a fondness for pink and amethyst colors.
Grandmother was hesitant, and I went to bed that night hoping for a yes in the morning.
On my way out the door for school the next day, I found an envelope with cash and the completed order form that also included a check mark beside the upgrade for engraved initials. I skipped to the bus stop and didn’t care who saw me.
The ring has been off and on my fingers for 42 years and it mostly resides in my jewelry box. The 19 and the 82 are worn down and the school name is barely recognizable. If you look closely, you can still see BLN engraved inside and if you look at it in profile, the ghost of a perfect circle.
Years later, I learned how Grandmother afforded the purchase—she had used her “pin money.”
I don’t remember if I ever properly thanked her.
This is the 11th story in the Objects as Waypoints Writing Project series.
The story that explains pin money: The Daisy (key) Chain