Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Necklace This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   When I was a little girl, I remember my mother always wore this thin goldbracelet around her wrist. It was not spectacularly beautiful, nor did it havehigh monetary value. I also recall that this bracelet was always breaking. Mymother would immediately get it fixed. For a while, she did not wear it and leftit on a jewelry box on her night table. I never understood why this bracelet wasso important to her. Then, one day, she told me.

That bracelet belonged tomy great, great grandmother. My grandparents are Holocaust survivors. They bothgrew up in Poland. My grandfather lived in a poor village. My mother has told methat he did not go to school past the sixth grade. My grandmother lived in anaffluent city. Soon after the Germans invaded Poland, my grandfather was sent toconcentration camps. He would be in a number before he escaped, shortly beforethe ordeal was over. For part of the Holocaust, my grandmother lived with nuns,who were able to hide her Jewish identity. At some point, she was on her own. Shehad no one. Her family had been separated. I do not know what belongings she wasable to keep with her, except for one item: a gold necklace. At one time, thenecklace fit around her neck several times. She was forced to sell the necklace,inch by inch, for food. By the end of the Holocaust, the necklace fit around herneck only once. Besides memories, this was one of the only things that she had toremember her family.

In 1945, the Holocaust was over. My grandparents metand soon were married. In 1948, my aunt was born in Germany. The next year theycame to the United States. My grandmother still had the necklace. Less than ayear after arriving in the United States, my mother was born. When my aunt and mymother were in their teens, my grandmother split this necklace in half with onepiece to my aunt and the other to my mother. My mother had her half made into abracelet.

The night before my Bat Mitzvah, in 1990, my parents presentedme with a small box. I opened it and inside was a handcrafted star of David. Myfather's cousin, a goldsmith, made it. My mother told me to look closely at theback. When I looked I could see that small gold links melted into the star. Theselinks were half of my mother's bracelet. I told my mother that she did not haveto do this. She told me that she wanted to, so she could pass this heirloomon.

For a while, my mother carried the other half with her on a key chainthat she kept in her purse. That summer, we were involved in a car accident. Whenwe were taken to the hospital, my mother did not have her purse. She was quiteupset because she thought that her bracelet was gone. Thankfully, it was laterreturned. My mother had a broken arm. However, as soon as she was able to getaround, she took her half to my father's cousin the goldsmith. She asked him tomelt it into a bracelet that is almost impossible to take off. The links are ableto be seen around the clasp of the bracelet.

I wear my necklace almostevery day. I do not think my mother has taken off her bracelet. They are bothbeautiful pieces of jewelry, with such a high sentimental value. They could neverbe replaced. Although I am not particularly religious, I wear my necklace partlyto remind me of what my family went through, and that I can be free to hold myown beliefs. There is no more of this necklace for me to divide for my children.However, if I do have children, my necklace will be passed on to them. Thenecklace is my most valuable possession. Whenever I look at it, I will alwaysremember why I have it and why it is so special.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

laureleu said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm
This was an amazing story. This is an amazing way to keep your great grandmother alive, every day. Vivant!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback