Thursday, 16 June 2011

Ten-fingered Susie and the ring of doom

Last night my mother was telling me about some jewellery from a family member who died a long time ago (this sounds a bit stilted because my mother will ring me up and say ‘Susie, stop putting private things I tell you about this family on your blog’. I am doing my best, mother. You get writing your next guest post). Anyway, this family member, who I will call W because her name began with W, had quite a lot of sadness in her life, and declared her jewellery to have Brought Bad Luck Upon Her. So once, apparently, she was walking with my grandmother, tore a ring off her finger, shouted ‘this ring has brought nothing but sorrow!’ and threw it in the river. For those of you who were not brought up in the North, yes we do sometimes segue into John Osborne, normally at New Year and funerals. And thus W’s jewellery has been declared Bad Luck. So my mother was telling me this and I had a thought.
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to something something and in the darkness bind them
‘My black ring?’ I said. ‘My black ring is unlucky?’
‘No’ my mother said, briskly and confidently. ‘You haven’t got any of W’s jewellery’.
‘I have’ I said. ‘My black ring is from W. Also that other ring that’s too big for me. And a bracelet’.
‘Not the gold bracelet?’ my mother said. ‘Not the gold bracelet that W’s sister came up and shouted at C about after the funeral and said…’.
‘No, a kind of junk jewellery one. It’s nice. It is quite an odd ring though. It is the kind of ring you’d think would have a curse on’.

And so I got to thinking. I do seem to acquire jewellery that comes, how can I put this delicately, from dead people. In fact all my jewellery is either from dead people or something marvellously directional made from a rubber band and a feather and purchased on etsy. And I suppose dead people’s jewellery comes to you with a lifetime of vibes and energy attached to it.
It used to have blue enamel on it but it wore off. But it kept its pixie
This is my late grandmother’s necklace which she wore every day, including in the hospital all the time she was dying. Although I don’t generally ascribe power to objects, I would rescue this before any other of my possessions (I mean, obviously, I’d mention to Partner that there was a fire and get him out first. And he’d say ‘Just a minute Susie, I want to listen to who wins this wicket’). I think this is the nearest thing I’ve got to a lucky charm. I’m generally very unsuperstitious which is probably a good thing because walking home the other night, five black cats crossed my path. Five! And I have broken mirrors with impunity. My grandparents were very superstitious about birds in the house, and I did grow up with the idea that it was very, very unlucky to have pictures of birds or models of birds anywhere. Then, when Partner and I moved into this house, the first thing Partner did was produce a small bird ornament which apparently he had been storing carefully for years and has so far been his only contribution to our d├ęcor.
WTF?!! As they say
Where had he got the small bird ornament from? It is a mystery to me, because Partner and ornaments do not seem to be natural bedfellows. Anyway I decided I would get over my residual birdy squeamishness by reclaiming birds, and would see things that were traditionally bad luck as actually excellent omens. Thus I stop to stroke the black cats, walk under ladders, knit peacocks on mittens, do not quail from single magpies etc. I have not gone so far as to have ‘13’ tattooed on my bottom or anything but you understand the principle. I shall have to do the same with W’s ring, and wear it and make happy associations (I do actually wear it a lot, it is one of my favourites). In the meantime I thought of this poem (beware! Incorrectly transcribed apostrophes!) and how things are not perfect today but women have more options. I shall go and start working on imbuing things with positive vibes now.


Tink said...

As I own a black cat, my path is crossed by one many times every day, as he delights in being where my feet need to be next.

I've got a few bits of jewellery from dead relatives, and I'll never forget my mother's tactless honesty when she told me "I'll have to give you your Nana's ring next time we see you, once I've cleaned the blood off it".

Vivianne said...

One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.
Susie, that looks like it is a shop-bought cardigan.
And your neck is unlined. Therefore you are like 12 years old or something.
What is unlucky about peacocks ?

Marushka C. said...

Okay, I laughed at a post about dead people and their jewelry.

My grandmother was also hugely superstitious, including the birds in the house -- and all the superstitions went like "______ means someone will die." Or sometimes "______ means someone will die this year." After she died, we found a dead bird in her sewing room, so maybe she wasn't entirely in the wrong...

One last thing - I lost my wedding ring about 12 years ago and my mother gave me hers as a temporary substitute. I couldn't wear it. Talk about bad karma -- not a marriage anyone would want to duplicate -- even my non-superstitious husband thought it would be a Bad, Bad Thing to wear it. (although I am reminded that 12 years later I still don't have the replacement ring he was going to get for me... hmmm... do you think that's a sign of something?)

Alittlebitsheepish said...

I think it is nice when things have a bit of history attached to them, more important than their actual value. Of course it is always nice when the stories are good :D

yvette said...

WHY have you not had 13 tatooed on your bottom? Are you afraid of something....

GirlAnachronismE said...

I always heard black cats were lucky, not unlucky. Hmm... Also, I love jewellery that people have left me. I wear my Granny's wedding ring always and it means so much to me. It has meaning and history behind it.

Susie said...

OK. We have now reached the stage where the comments are better than the blog. I am throwing in the towel. Tink, I am speechless ;-).

Peacocks mean Death. Marushka is right, all superstitions mean something will lead to Death ;-). However I read somewhere recently that having a cherry tree in my garden means I will have lots of affairs but this is untrue as I am too busy knitting.

(Also, not only is that a shop-bought cardigan but I bought it full price from Marks and Spencer. There go my credentials, hey? ;-) ).

Kezz said...

Allegedly black cats are traditionally considered lucky in the UK and white cats are the bad luck omens, but the rest of the world dislike black cats...

Susie said...

We have the big fat white cat from two doors down who comes and stares at us through the fence! We call him Satan. (I don't know what he's really called. Fluffikins?).

I just attract bad omens. I'm going off to book the 13 bottom tattoo.