When I met Popo (婆婆) on Friday morning, she was sitting out on the enclosed back porch in the sun, waiting with gifts for me. Jewelry, appropriately.
The necklace and earrings are lovely, but the overlarge ring she then placed on my finger is a treasure.
As Popo explained, it was her paternal grandmother’s, given to her many years ago. "I know it’s old fashioned, but it’s very precious to me. Do you like it? My grandmother loved me especially and gave it to me, and now I give it to you. Do you like it?"
Of course I do. I love it.
It’s connection, which is everything I look to accomplish in my work.
To tell the story waiting to be told by my dissertation, I also need to tell the story of this ring. Of 19th century women and their daughters, and granddaughters. Of how they treasured them. Of what shaped their world and how they moved within it. Of what they hoped would make their world better.
I’m reminded of something Anne Lamott tweeted last year about writing. "Here’s how to write: badly, 2 pages at a time, b/c there’s a story tugging on your sleeve that has chosen you to tell it, and will help you."
This ring is another tug on my sleeve, a piece of the story waiting to be told.