As a family we loved to play badminton, so all summer long a badminton net was strung across our lawn at our home in Michigan. Mowing the lawn was a job I enjoyed, and I usually just ducked under the net while mowing. But one day that net caught my earring and sent it flying into the grass. Completely distraught, I searched for the earring for days – weeks even. Those 14kt gold ball studs were the only real jewelry I owned, everything else was cheap costume jewelry. Well, that was one reason for wanting to find the lost earring, but there was another more sentimental reason…
While visiting our family in Kansas one summer, Mother asked if I would like to get my ears pierced at Uncle Ivan’s jewelry store. Of course I did! Uncle Ivan was a family legend. He was my aunt’s first husband. He died from a heart ailment a few years before I was born. It was an ailment that now could easily be remedied with surgery, but in the early 60’s it was still fatal. He knew he was dying, and that he had about 6 months to live, so he used those months to write letters to his adopted son. They were to be opened upon special occasions, and often had advice that only a dad could give – like the one he was to open upon becoming a teenager ‘Respect your mother, she has only your best interest in mind’, and upon his marriage – how to treat his bride. Uncle Ivan was clearly dearly loved by the entire family. My mother once described him as ‘Simply the kindest man I ever met.’ So even though the store was no longer in the family, it was still a wonderful feeling to have gold earrings purchased from there, and the ear piercings to take place there.
Losing one of those earrings just devastated me. I sat there with its mate in my hand, and decided I was going to wear it no matter what. I pretty much knew my parents would say ‘no’ to a third piercing, so I didn’t bother asking. I put a needle and the single gold ball into rubbing alcohol and used an ice cube to freeze my ear lobe. Then I pierced my right ear myself, and for many years wore that gold ball alongside other pairs of earrings.
Fast forward about 6 years…The first gift my husband ever gave me was a set of tiny diamond stud earrings with a matching necklace in 14kt gold. It was Christmas, just a few months after we met. Sometime later, I don’t remember how long though it was probably soon after he successfully taught me to drive stickshift, I remember staring at the gold ball in the mirror and thinking, ‘Loren is the kindest man I ever met’, and I replaced the gold ball with the diamond stud earring.
And that is the ‘story of the ice cube’ – or more accurately, ‘why I wear three earrings’. LOL