When my step-grandmother (Olga) died, my folks and I flew to Texas for her funeral and to wrap up her affairs. After the funeral we visited with her incredibly kind neighbors then took a look around her house. I fell in love with a family victrola she kept in a bedroom and insisted that we keep it. It's still in my Mom's cousin's garage but I swear we'll have it shipped out here and refurbished one day. There was also an incredible desk that I would have loved to take but how was I supposed to get that thing home? Somehow a victrola seemed do-able but not a desk.
Anyway, Mom and I were going through Olga's dresser, and what seriously must have been the world's biggest collection of costume jewelery, when we came across a rather odd piece of jewelry. Olga was originally from Germany and came to the US with her parents after WWII. Once here, she married a US Army veteran but we never knew much about him or how he died. Nor did we know much about her childhood and teens years in Germany. Don't ask don't tell right? Can you guess where I'm going here? Yup, Mom and I found a rather delicate gold and ruby swastika necklace. So small and delicate, in fact, that it probably belonged to a child. Our reaction was as you would expect, I sort of gasped and mom ominously whispered "Oooooo" (think minor key here). Well really, what do you do with that sort of creepy artifact? We knew we couldn't leave it there. We certainly didn't want to sell it but also didn't ever want it found in our home once we were gone. It's not like we could take it to a jeweler to be melted down and transformed into something else. Again, how could you explain the damn thing? The next thought was how do you get a thing like that home? Ultimately, we checked it in our luggage and hoped it wouldn't be found during a security search. Once home, Mom put it somewhere and forgot about it.
Several years later, after a visit to the Museum of Tolerance I decided we should donate the necklace to the museum. They have a disturbing collection of Nazi "memorabilia" and the necklace would fit right in. I figure by donating it nobody would personally profit from it, which would bother me. Most importantly, in this way , it wouldn't end up in the wrong hands. Even if the museum didn't want it, they might have a suggestion as to what we should do with it.
Today, I was thinking about the necklace, possibly because it's Memorial Day weekend, and asked mom where it was. She said she thought I had it. Uh oh. Where the heck could it be?! I rummaged through Mom's jewelry and couldn't find it anywhere. Oh dear. What happens if it's found and no one is around to explain it? Awkward!
Although I didn't find the necklace, I did find some other family heirlooms that need some explaining.
My Grandfather worked for an oil company for most of his career. He was stationed in Tripoli, Libya during the sixties. Mom lived with him for a couple of years and was an elementary school teacher to the kids on a US air base. From time to time I run across things from that time in her life. Some of these things have Arabic script on them. Of course, I've no idea what they say but, considering our current administration and social biases, they could, unfortunately, be seen as suspicious. Here are and couple of things I found:
Can anyone out there translate Arabic? And please, no jokes. I'm just curious about what they say.
(Excuse my ignorance if they are wrong side up. As you can see I took 2 pix of the larger brooch if it helps.)
I also found one of these. I remember Olga sending my brother a bunch of military medals when he was a kid. They were apparently medals her first husband had earned while in service. I suppose she figured all boys like military stuff. I vividly remember the boxes the medals came in and that they were all caefull labeled in her small hand writing. Unfortunatley, that's about all I remember of them.
My favorite find of he day is a bracelet with my Mom's name on one side and "Eddie" on the other. Eddie was a high school boyfriend of Mom's. Every time Eddie's name come up she sings "Eddie My Love". My Grandfather was married a few times which may explain the small pile of gold bands I found. Mom and I just sort of grinned at that. Ya gotta love Grandpa... all the ladies did.
(Disclaimer: Yes, I understand swastikas were once commonly worn as symbols of good luck. No, I don't think all German's are Nazis. However, considering her age and the era my step-Grandmother was born and raised in Germany, odds are her necklace is of Nazi origin. So, all you trolls out there who like to call everyone who dares to mention Germans racist, don't waste your time unless you take the time to actually read a post in it's entirety.)