My Saga

I don't expect every visitor to read this, but for the select few who choose to, I believe it truly unveils the origin of my love affair with silver. 

 

On one particular night in June of '86, when my mother, Peggy, the lead singer in her band, thrust her arm up high in the air to cue the drummer to end the song, an arm at the opposite end of the bar did the same. 

Hold on a second— please allow me now to backtrack and introduce a necessary element that is critical to this tale; silver. Sterling silver to be precise— even more exact, sterling silver bangle bracelets. 

Silver, symbol Ag—Ag being from the Latin, argentum, derived from the proto-indo-European: "shiny" or "white"— group 11, period 5 on the periodic table. Silver has an atomic number of 47. It is a comparatively soft metal that is white, sometimes almost bluish. It exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any other known metal. It is found in the Earth's crust in the pure elemental form, as an alloy with gold, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. It has a Mohs hardness of 2.5 and a melting point of 1763.2°F (961.78°C). 

Silver has been used as currency both as coin and bullion. It has starred as the leading lady when it comes to making reflections attainable. It has been lead scientist in such artistic experiments as photography, and jewelry making. Silver has even been known to host the occasional medical breakthrough now and again in its role in the X-ray lab.

Before the compilation of the periodic table, silver was considered one of seven sacred metals in alchemy. Silver is also associated with the sixth chakra (or the "third eye") in the chakra system. Most importantly, silver is magic.  Texts going back as early as the thirteenth-century, credit silver with mystical properties. The ancient mythologies and folklore speak of silver as a panacea to our deepest fears; bullets cast of silver would slay a witch or werewolf, and amulets of silver were worn to protect from the undead. Native Americans wear silver embellished with turquoise to aid in their prayer ceremonies. It’s even considered to be an astral conductor; mystics believed it helped to establish contact with the souls of the dead.

Long before their paths ever crossed, my parents each chose to encase their wrists, practically up to the elbow, with silver bracelets. Both give a seemingly underwhelming explanation as to how and why they started down this road of over-accessorizing, but their stories do have one common thread. When they were given their first bracelet, they were told they could never take it off. 

Now, let me give you a more detailed account of these accessories, since, were you acquainted with my parents' wrists, you’d agree— this is something that demands a more substantial explanation.   We aren't talking about a hefty charm bracelet or two. We are talking about both wrists, immured in countless unique sterling silver bangles of varied width, detail, and allure, that were never, ever, taken off.  Regardless of circumstance or event, the bracelets were there. My father, Timi, even had zippers installed into all of his jacket sleeves to accommodate the bulk.  Picture a traveling gypsy who just inherited a pawn shop from her late husband— definitely not something you see every day, even in 1986. 

Let's take what you now know about silver and all its magic, and the collective bijouterie worn by my parents, and return to that night in June at Garvin’s, where my mother’s band was playing. Come back with me to that moment when, arm upraised, from the farthest end of the smoky bar, Peggy spied an identically adorned arm rise in intentional retaliation— an ocean of silver sparkling in the glow of the backlit Guinness sign. Come back to that crystal microsecond when she began to fathom the possibilities.  Her brain denied what her eyes consigned— almost a mirror image— wrist for wrist. Mystical, magical, atomic number 47, protecting you from the undead— silver was adorning this wrist she spied through the barroom haze.  It was at this moment that my story truly began. 

My mom was a knockout, even without the “singer in the band” status, so I'm sure my father wasn't the only cool dude with something to say to her after her set. He walked right up to her (presumably after waiting his turn) stationed his arm on the edge of the bar next to hers and, staring as intently as one can in a smoke-filled gin joint, he said, (I shit you not) "Why do we do this?" The rest is history. 

The two of them had lots of adventures: donation-bin diving for clothes to sell at the Brooklyn Flea Market, bass fishing every lake and stream the east coast had to offer, camping out in Quaker country, hitting all the antique stores and auctions: she in search of salt and pepper shakers, he for pirate memorabilia. 

While Mom navigated a career change— when she "grew up" and transitioned from late-night rocker to early-rising school teacher, the unexpected, "yet always welcome," baby girl arrived. Me.  As I grew, a silver bracelet marked each milestone and I honored my parents' legacy so faithfully that by my teenage years, I sported an enviable collection of silver bangle bracelets.

It was in my freshman year of highschool that I met my fiance, albeit our journey to love was a curious one.  Although, since I have known him Travis has always been a source of encouragement when it came to supporting my craft. 

Travis, a senior at that high school, was a bass player in a local band; and I was a brand new freshman. Senior?... Freshman? Not likely, but boy was this guy dreamy. I figured he had no idea who I was, so I got busy trying to replicate the cool, "senior-in-high school" stuff as any good counter culture-er would. Later I learned that I had caught his attention weeks before in the hall between classes. Apparently I made quite the impression with my frizzy purple hair and leopard print glasses. We were ships in the night— a worthy chaperon to teenage angst. Sometimes I’d see him around, but I never imagined he was interested in me. He gave none of the usual indications,  so with melancholy singed sighs of regret for all of the imagined delights we’d missed, I filed Travis under “dreamy impossibility.”

Time passed. At the end of my freshman year,  Mom's new job took us from New Jersey— across the border into New York. Travis and I hadn't really made a connection that warranted staying in touch.  But facing the diminished possibility for any of my Travis fantasies to come to pass was excruciating. 

His band was becoming increasingly well known in the tri-state area. A tour of the East Coast lent some serious muscle to their popularity. They even had a regular gig at Sullivan Hall in the East Village every Wednesday.  This was where we finally (almost) re-connected. 

I’d graduated from highschool and started college in New York City, so it was easy for me to hop on a subway to see his band play right by West 4th. I'd always manage to drag some friends along; (staking an understood claim to Travis by my incessant litany of just how dreamy the bass player was.) But alas, besides the occasional bum of a cigarette or casual “hello” there wasn't much interaction. 

I continued to crush on Travis from afar, liking his pictures on social media, with my digital winks and smiles often reciprocated. I would go and see his band play, sometimes we would even bump into each other at festivals and have brief awkward conversations, both of us blissfully unaware of the other's feelings. Once, at a music festival in the Catskills, I gave him a pin I'd made. He wore it on his bass strap for years hoping I would notice. I didn't, but, in my defense, I was in my early twenties and I partied hard— maybe a little too hard.

And then one day, seemingly out of the blue, he messaged me. His words were direct, clear, and reminiscent of the confessional. He told me that he'd had a crush on me since the day he passed me in the hallway back in high school. I was genuinely shocked. I was thrilled, but the whole exchange was surreal. 

Without hesitation, I responded, admitting to the same feelings for him. The only issue was that we were both involved with others at the time, so once again, we dog-eared the corner of the page to our story, but this was different.  Now there was the certainty that we would, at some point, resume. Communicating via social media lent our exchange legitimacy, if not intimacy. And there was the knowing. 

I sent him a piece of jewelry that I'd been working on when the midnight confession happened. The note said, “Consider this a tangible manifestation of future opportunities—”  like a promise I’d honor our possibilities with time. Someday.

We talked often, probably more than our respective partners would have approved. Finally, it started to happen. There was distinct synchronicity to events that next transpired. We both shared—almost gleefully— that our current circumstances were crumbling— evaporating and maybe... just maybe our time had come. Kismet? Fate? Destiny? It dawned on me that I was already in love with Travis.

Right before Christmas we met up, and it was magic; sparks flying, the mystery in full bloom— you know the story. 

There is a need for yet another sidebar here, so you can witness that mystical silver magic at work. 

Travis' family has a Christmas tradition where each person writes down a wish and tucks it into a nook in the expired Christmas tree right before it is ceremoniously burned in the backyard. But that year, Travis sent all of the doubt-fire— the questions, worries, and second-guesses spurred by this devastating, stunning love he felt for me, directly to the source of all wisdom; his late grandpa, Poppy. He needed to know if his feelings were true; if this was where he was meant to be and if he should be following his heart at this point in his life. 

After the family watched their yule log burn, and the winter wind carried their wishes out to the universe, Trav’s mom said, “I don’t know why, but I feel like Poppy is telling me to give you this.”  She handed him Poppy's leather Harley Davidson zippered pouch. Inside were a few sentimental items— his draft card and a pin he always used to wear on his leather jacket, and three heavy sterling silver bracelets. Travis reverently passed his huge hand through each one until they sat on his wrist exactly as they had on Poppy's. His mother wiped away a tear and said to Trav, "You know, you can never take them off now." 

Silver... ever magical, ever mystical. Travis hugged his mom and sent out his thanks to Poppy for the unexpected Christmas gift. 

Completely unaware of my family history, Travis showed up for our next date casually repping three hefty silver bracelets. My shock was palpable (and possibly audible.) I proceeded to gush out my parents' sort of love story in merciless detail. I asked Travis all about his bracelets— the how, when and why of them and as he told me it finally dawned on him that all the questions he’d sent out to Poppy on the burning embers of a spent Christmas tree, had been answered in no uncertain terms by the three silver bracelets, passed to him— an heirloom, a legacy. 

This was a crystal clear revelation for him; and he understood that when his mom handed him that leather bag, its contents were a sign from his Poppy; a yes to his questions. He proceeded to share the story of the tree, the wishes, and the clarity of the answers he got this year. 

We spent the next year overcoming multiple obstacles, like obsessive ex-boyfriends, and face shattering, (mine) Harley-totaling motorcycle accidents; but, as my favorite author once said, "Everything is part of it." So we took that insurance money and spent the next Christmas in Maui. 

Travis completely surprised me by proposing we "aid and abet" under the Banyan Tree with a diamond ring inscribed, "yum" as a constant reminder of how important a positive outlook is and some reminders on how to make love stay. 

It was nine months after our holiday in Hawaii that we welcomed our first daughter, Freya, into this world. She has her daddy's eyes, her mama's smile, and a tiny silver bracelet of her own.

 

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