Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Rings and things


Blogging has become important to me over the last year. At first it was a way of recording what I saw as an exciting phase of my life, as we settled into living in two places, Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, and Caunes Minervois in the Languedoc in France. Then it became about connecting with other people and their lives. The last few weeks have made me realise that it is this connection with other people and their lives that is really important to me.

Discovering that I have endometrial cancer means that the life we had planned for the next year or so, is on hold. We should be in France now, then we had a month trip to India planned before Christmas. Then we were intending to spend a couple of months travelling in the US before returning to France next April. So......not a lot, apart from scans, MRIs, blood tests, surgery, chemo and radiotherapy are being talked about now. As anyone who has been on “the cancer journey” knows, it takes over.

I am determined it will not take over.  I intend to continue blogging.....and it will not be a cancer journey blog, although I have complete admiration for people who have decided to do this. I will refer to it.....it is there.....but it is not going to dominate my thoughts, or my life.

So....whilst waiting for final tests to stage my cancer and determine treatment..... I will continue to blog.....from Hebden Bridge for a while, as I have said, the planned autumn trip to Caunes is on hold.

Rings and things

When I went through my father’s desk, after his death, I found an old Parker pen case. It contained 2 broken rings, 2 gymnastic medals won by my father in 1943 and in 1945, and 2 enamelled badges, one saying PREFECT, and one saying “HOUSE CAPTAIN”.
 

The badges were important to him...he left school at 14, but was honoured to have been thought worthy of wearing those badges in his last year at school. He had told me about them. I also knew about the gymnastic medals....again, he had been very proud of them. I knew nothing of the rings.
 

The first was a broken, man’s signet ring. The initials on it were JG, so I supposed it had belonged to my great grandfather, Kent shoe maker Joseph Gilbert. It was rose gold, and I decided to have it melted down to make a ring that I would wear. I did this a couple of years ago, had a diamond from my grandmother’s engagement ring placed into it, and have worn it ever since.

The other ring, looked like something out of a Christmas cracker, so I ignored it, until recently when I was having another piece of jewellery repaired. I took in to “Max”...the jeweller in Hebden Bridge, where everyone takes their broken jewels for him to work  his magic on them.

I asked him if it was worth doing anything with, or was it muck metal.....no, 18c gold and diamonds he said.....a Victorian setting. He then explained about how diamonds were cut differently when they needed to sparkle under gas light rather than electric light.
 

The ring is mended.... and although I cant be certain, I suspect it was Joseph Gilbert’s wife’s ( my great grandmother, Edith Woolley....or just possibly, her mother’s, Esther Spice). I am searching for old photos of these formidable women, to see if there is any evidence of the ring on their fingers.
Great grandmother Edith, father Mike, grandmother Queenie & Great great grandmother Esther
 
I held out a small hope that it might have been my great grandmother Florence’s ring....the one who gave birth to my bigamist grandfather. My daughter Jess gently suggested to me that possibly, had it been Florence’s ring, bigamist grandad would probably have given it to wife number 1 or wife number 2 rather than my grandmother, who was wife number 3. Oh well....I will probably never know which of the gorgeous women who came before me wore it......but now I am wearing it, and I love it.

33 comments:

  1. My dear Janice, I am so sorry to hear about this turn in your life and hope and pray that you will have the most successful of treatment and care. I agree with your decision to blog about your experiences as I have the blogosphere to be a wonderful source of support and friendship.

    What treasures that little Parker Pen box held and how wonderful that you have a beautiful ring that you can wear that has been passed down from one woman in the family to others. I would love to see a picture of the ring you had melted down and re-designed.

    In the meantime you have my heart-felt best wishes for the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words. It has felt wonderfully normal today, to read posts, comment on them, and to post one myself. I look forward to doing lots more connecting with blogging friends. J.

      Delete
  2. So glad you have decided to keep up the blog - we are all rooting for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, what a team of rooters....no one could ask for more. J.

      Delete
  3. Good to see your blog popping up this morning...and how right you are about how blogging comes with the unanticipated pleasure of the connection with others.

    You're going to have quite a time, hunting down that ring through family photographs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I fear the ring will have to stay a little mysterious...so far, no luck in proving where it came from...I will keep looking though.
      It feels good to be back at the keyboard...thanks so much for your supportive words recently...much appreciated. J.

      Delete
  4. I'm happy that you are looking at everything as a positive outlook. I always believe that makes you heal faster for the better.....Glad you are back to blogging, I also think that it is a pleasure with connecting with strangers from around the world that you get a peek into their lives and make new friends......
    What a wonderful find in the Parker Pen box. I'm always interested into finding my past but very hard for me as mine came from eastern Europe and booted it out of there when Stalin came around. Mostly everything in that country was destroyed.
    Anyways.....wishing you the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much....everyone has been so kind, and so supportive. It really has meant so much to me.
      Yes, the Parker pen box ( made in Canada I note) was a real treasure trove. I'm so glad my dad kept it. J.

      Delete
  5. Hi Janice,

    Glad that you are feeling strong enough to blog. As always as readers we'll accept whatever content comes our way.

    Lovely story about the pen box and the rings. How wonderful to be wearing something belonging to your great grandfather. I think I might consider who I would have liked the owner of the diamond ring to be, and look no further!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gaynor. Your kind and supportive words have helped keep me going this last couple of weeks. I am delighted about the rings...and the one I thought might have come out of a Christmas cracker is just such a lovely surprise. Thanks again. J.

      Delete
  6. Hello Janice:
    From our own experiences, we can identify with at least some part of what you must be experiencing currently about your cancer diagnosis. It can indeed be an all consuming time in one's life but, we too found great strength, support and friendship from fellow bloggers that we truly feel blessed to have received. We feel privileged that you have allowed us into your confidence and shall hold you close in our thoughts and prayers as you make progress and make progress we are absolutely certain that you will.

    And, what treasures in the Parker pen box.The memories must have come flooding back as you discovered and researched each item. It is so wonderful to have these things and it is made all the better that you now have jewellery that you can wear and enjoy for yourself, so many decades on!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words. I have been overwhelmed with the caring and lovely messages I have received over the last couple of weeks. It is also excellent to be back at my keyboard..... and it was good today, to read your latest post, which, as always was completely delightful. J.

      Delete
  7. Bravo Janice - you have the right attitude and I admire your spirit. I know you are strongly aware that so many of us have been thinking about you during this past couple of weeks.
    The marquise style diamond ring is lovely, thank goodness you found out that it was the real thing.
    Sending you my very best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosemary...this little blogging group that some of us share is full of some incredible people. Your contact has meant a lot to me...thankyou.
      I could so easily have thrown the ring away ! J.

      Delete
  8. I can't believe how much love and support you're getting from all your blogging friends mum! It's wonderful! I love this blog! I love all of your blogging friends! I love you! and I love that ring!
    I also think that GaynorB is right, look no further than Florence!
    x x x x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK kid.... Florence's ring it is. xxxxx

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like a bit of a mystery Janice, and I wonder if you'll manage to find out who the ring belonged to. I rather like the badges. Simple things but of great sentimental value. I have my late father's driving license and his swimming club membership card. Silly things but I can remember how much he loved swimming until he was no longer able to...and what a terrible driver he was!

    Glad to have you back blogging xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It feels good to be back Ayak.....it feels normal ! I understand completely about the driving license and swimming club card....just little things, but they can conjure up very real and happy memories. Jx

      Delete
  11. Great to see your post popping up, Janice, and what a lovely story you have to share. The blogging world is full of wonderful people just waiting to make connections via our blogs and I'm glad you feel supported by the friends you've found. I know just how hard it is to have your ordinary life and plans put on hold like this, so I hope you find lots of enjoyment in blogging while you wait.

    The Parker pen box and its contents are so touching and I think it's lovely that you have made something unique and personal from the broken ring. The diamond one is gorgeous - very Victorian. I'm getting a touch of the old green-eye here. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Perpetua, it feels good to be back in touch with the world again. It is lovely to be doing somehting that feels normal again.
      I am truly delighted with the diamond ring....if only I could prove it belonged to Florence ! J.

      Delete
  12. It was such a pleasant surprise to see you had posted, Janice. I'm sorry so many plans are on hold, but on hold means they are in abeyance for when you are ready and your course of treatment is through.

    I, too, would love to see the ring you had made. It is always so interesting to me to see how gems and gold are remade. The other ring is beautiful. I love old settings. Here's to discovering their provenance - and to you, Janice. I'm still praying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for this Penny, posting something normal feels great....and yes, the old settings are amazing aren't they. I was fascinated to learn about the different diamond cutting techniques which have been developed since gas light gave way to electricity. J.

      Delete
  13. Lovely to read your blog again! I've always loved to weave stories around the family mementoes I have (not that I have one as gorgeous as that ring)- tracking down the true stories and imagining possibilities when I don't have all the facts. No wonder we're both into family history!
    nilly xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Nilly, and for your recent supportive words...all very much appreciated. Family history and "stuff" are just such a fabulous combination. I was engaged to an antique dealer many years ago, and did all the fairs for a few years. Although that side of things is just a hobby and side interest now, being able to link real people with their belongings and the lives they led will always fascinate me.

      Delete
  14. I'm just catching up after two weeks away and am so sorry to hear your news. I can only imagine what turmoil you must be in but I'm sure the distraction of blogging can only help. Like everyone else, I wish you all the best and hope for a good outcome.

    As for the rings, how wonderful it is to have such things to remind you of your family history. These little things may only be "objects" but just having them can bring back so many memories. Good luck with finding out more about the ring and how mysterious to have a "bigamous grandfather" !! My own father was horrified how many skeletons there were in his own family cupboard when he began researching his family tree.....it was very exciting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jean. I can honestly say that blogging friends have been completely amazing during the last couple of weeks. Being back in touch with everyone is lovely, and is helping me a great deal. Discovering my poor grandmother was wife number 3....held simultaneously, was a great shock....but the cousins I have now traced, in Australia, descended from wife number 1, and I are now very close. I think we've forgiven him !

      Delete
  15. Good to see you back! And it's a great choice to carry on blogging -- it's just one way of keeping hold of real life. How wonderful to have these rings, with their rich history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Veronica. Blogging just feels normal, and that is great. I am delighted with the rings, especially the one that i thought might have come out of a Christmas cracker, and could so easily have been thrown away. J

      Delete
  16. Janice, Janice, what a lovely post you have written! Your plans all awry but your focus and positivity intact - I do so admire you and your attitude, increasingly so. I have been away from my blog for a day or so and didn't see your post immediately but it's given me chance to read all the touching, caring and reassuring comments left for you by blogging friends - I do so agree with Jessie's enthusiastic approval of it all!
    The rings are fascinating and I'm so impressed that you have the photograph of the original, broken ring - I only ever think of doing things like that when it's too late. And I love the Victorian diamond ring too - what a find, what a treasure, what an exciting mystery. It provides a wonderful continuity in your blog as your family and their secrets are revealed bit at a time! What will be next, I wonder?
    Will be in touch. Love, Axxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you've been away from your blog doing delightful things Annie...and that reports of your activities will appear here soon. I'm doing ok..... and blogging activities are really helping ! The rings story has sparked me off on other family history related trails... and I do suspect that bigamist grandad will make another appearance soon. How I'd love to talk to him, to find out why ? lots of love, Jxxx

      Delete
  17. Well, one good thing about having a ring - any ring - is that you can pass it down to the next generation, along with the memories that you created with it. I hope that you value the rings as your father did. Maybe, someday, you will also have a ring to leave for the younger generation with a story to uncover.

    ReplyDelete
  18. An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart. The condition is present from birth (congenital). Smaller atrial septal defects may close on their own during infancy or early childhood.
    Uterine (Endometrial) cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer (i.e., cancer that originates in female reproductive system). It develops in the body of the uterus, or womb, which is a hollow organ located in the lower abdomen. The wall of the uterus is comprised of an inner lining (called the endometrium) and an outer layer of muscle tissue (called the myometrium).

    asd closure surgery in india
    Endometrial Cancer Surgery india

    ReplyDelete