I went home to Virginia last weekend for a dear friend’s wedding and to deliver my mother some Ramps and Sunchokes from the Union Square farmers market (I’ve been obsessed with this pairing for the past three weeks and can’t believe that there are still ramps available- I read this my first spring living in New York and have made the yearly appearance of ramps at the market a New-York-specific-ritual for myself… but I digress).
I was getting ready to go to this wedding with my mama in what, now that I try to put it into words for the first time, is not just a bathroom but a full on dressing room with a chaise lounge (I have not realized the import of this until this second- I have always just called it “Mama’s bathroom”… well it does have a tub). Getting ready and being in here is always awesome, since I was little snooping around in her stuff has always been the best.thing.ever- the only difference is that now, if I am very nice, she will actually let me wear some of her jewelry.
So, my father comes in and we’re just lounging around looking at old photographs and talking about hair-stuff and he hands me a tiny parcel with this inside:
Immediately the stories come out- first thing you need to know: we are from Williamsburg, Virginia, as in Colonial Williamsburg. So, when my father was a small boy he and his two brothers went down to the CW silversmith and picked out this brooch for my grandmother for Mother’s Day. My grandmother is an amazing lady, a horticulturist and philanthropist, a mover and a shaker, and the grandest possessor of hats, scarves, and jewels I have ever had the good fortune to meet. She, at some point, loses this brooch and secretly goes and replaces it without telling her sons. Then FIFTEEN years later she finds it again out in the garden by the woodpile (because, of course, she’s the kind of lady to wear fancy jewelry out by the woodpile). By this time, my parents are married and now Gramma has two brooches- so she gives the replacement pin to my mother. By this time in the conversation, my mother has pulled hers out. Apparently, they don’t make them anymore, but Daddy has found one somewhere (perhaps out by the woodpile) and thinks that since Gramma and Mama both have them, Nan should too. How divinely amazing!!
As you can see, I filled my tiny vase-pin with water, went right out and cut a peony from the garden, and went along to the nuptials feeling fine, like a classic Virginia lady (albeit in an Abigail Lorick dress), and most importantly- very loved.
Here are some modern options (if you don’t have a southern woodpile that keeps birthing brooches on the world):