Inauspicious Beginnings

If you like my aesthetic in jewelry you may be surprised by my beginnings. I am.

I was rummaging through my drawers the other day trying to figure out what was in them, as most of what I wear regularly was residing on the floor. Why is there no room in my dresser for my clothes?

What I found among many other things was some of my old jewelry from my youth, way before I made jewelry. Eclectic is a nice way to describe my tastes. My favorite watch was a Minnie Mouse (not Mickey) one that I bought in Disneyland. I had earrings with bells, and macrame bracelets, yet not one peace sign. Sigh.

But the thing that made me laugh was the very first piece of jewelry, a pendant that my Dad made for me. It was my pride and joy for many years and I even resurrected it for a party a few years ago.

My older sister’s boyfriend had gone to Hawaii for spring vacation. To show his love or at least to show he was thinking about her, he brought her back a little wooden tiki head on a leather cord. I don’t think she was too impressed, but being 5 years younger I coveted it. She let me hold it and even wear it for a while but then demanded it back.

That was not okay. She didn’t like it much, I LOVED it. I watch where she put it and went and stole it. And we were off to the races. After a few days of this my father got tired of the screaming and yelling. Neither daughter was going to give in. If my sister hid her tiki head, I tore her room apart until I found it, only to re-hide it in my room. She’d throw a fit (much to my delight) and demand it back.

Dad offered to make me my very own tiki head IF I would PLEASE leave my sister’s alone. I agreed. He had teak wood he had scavenged from the beaches of Hawaii during the war. It was off the decks of the military ships. It  had been removed dumped after Pearl Harbor to make them war ready and less flammable. (Or so I was told.)

Taking a chunk of the teak he carved me a tiki head and hung it on a leather cord. I loved it, wore it, treasured it. And eventually outgrew it, to bury in in the back of a drawer.

It made one more appearance in my life in the late 80’s. For unknown reasons I chose to wear it to a party. A drunk with far too many drinks in him came up to me grabbed it and hung on, asking, “What’s dis?” For once in my life I was fast of brain and mouth and replied, “My first husband.” He looked aghast and rumbled off. Here it is for you to enjoy, the start of my love affair with handmade jewelry. How I have evolved….or so we all hope.

Tiki Head