When I was 18 years old I had been out of high school for one year. (Yes, I graduated at 17)
A friend of mine in college came up with an absolutely WONDERFUL idea! We would not go to school spring quarter and we would get a full time job. Our plans were to save every penny and spend the summer in Europe.
We both got a job in downtown Atlanta in one of the banks. I worked in the vault with all the cds and things like that. My boss was a career lady who walked around with a cigarette in her mouth and dropped ashes all over everyone.
But, I digress....
I have a very wise daddy. He said that if I let him chose the group then he would pay for my trip. Well, I was blond, but I was not DUMB! That meant I could spend the money I was making! So I agreed. Little did I realize ....
I do need to digress now. I don't remember if I ever mentioned that my daddy was Assistant to the Dean of the School of Theology at Candler - Emory University. He had lots of friends. One of the professors took many groups to Europe and the Holy Lands. Sooooooo, daddy worked out a deal with Dr. Gordon Thompson. What a mighty man of God. He and his precious wife were gracious enough to take me with them.
The10 day tour consisted of 98% retired people, most of whom were pastors and their wives. There was one 18 year old girl besides me in the group. She was an extremely unhappy, very overweight and super depressed girl.
Yeah... I didn't know this until I got on the trip. I had visions of world travel and freedom and adventure. Not so much! The rule was that we had to always travel in pairs.... She never wanted to explore on our free time. Again, that is another story for another day. She was grieving the death of her father and the new boyfriends her mother was bringing home... I felt sorry for her, only .... So anyway, I was stuck either with the group or in the room.
It really was a wonderful trip. We traveled all over Europe and the Holy Lands. It was 1968. It was an eye opener and life changer. Things were much different then in the world. One of our stops was in Italy. Our guide and leader had a favorite shop in each country. In Rome it was a cameo "factory". We were able to see them making cameos.
Now, as an 18 year old I was not impressed with the "old lady" typical cameos. However, there was one that caught my eye and heart. I HAD to have it. It was a beautiful graceful full figure girl with long flowing gown and hair blowing in the wind. I splurged and happily packed the ring into my bags.
All along the trip I would pick up different gifts for people back home. At the end of the trip I was feeling so good about everything I had gotten for my family. (none of which I can remember now except the cameo) As I began to unpack and share my trip I realized that I had not gotten anything for mama. HOW COULD I?????? She had sacrificed for me to go. She was my best friend!
I quickly checked out the goodies and made a snap decision to give her my most prized souvenir... the beautiful cameo ring. I should have planned better. I should have thought it through more.
She was not a "ring" person. It was a very large ring and it did not look pretty on her hand. She received it, but to my knowledge never wore it.
I hate to admit it, but I grieved over the ring. I wanted it because it was so different. I wanted it because .... well... I just loved it. Honestly, I felt cheated out of it.
So, after mama began to mentally leave us, I began to look for the ring. I had had a glimpse of it years earlier in her jewelry case. After going through all her jewelry on this last trip I came across what looked exactly like my ring. However, it was not a ring, but a pendant/broach.
I shamelessly brought it home. I took it to the jewelers and had them check it out. YES! It had been changed from ring to pin. (I still had NEVER seen it on her.)
So, I had them transform it back into a ring. I picked it up yesterday. I was so emotional when I put it on my finger. After 42 YEARS I finally could wear my ring.
Here are a couple of pictures of it. They are not good - not sure why I couldn't get a good shot of it. I tried several different angles and settings, but it just didn't show up and do it justice.