Tuesday, May 16, 2006


When my grandmother died, the only memento my mother wanted was her opal engagement ring, but Aunt Jean claimed the privilege of the elder and kept it herself.

Some six years ago Aunt Jean asked me to come up and help her sort out her things. She had had a fall and was pitifully aware that her mind was going, and part of her distress was that she had mislaid the ring, but we had a good visit, sorted her papers and had jaunts. The next time I came up she was in the nursing home, and Sheena Hutchinson, Margaret-Jean and I sorted and cleared the house for sale. I missed her funeral - my plane was cancelled- so didn't have a chance to sit with Sheena and Jim, or Margaret-Jean, then I left for California. Aunt Daisy died, I lugged barometers, tools, books and my grandfather's walking stick to Australia, and Naroma, which had always been mythical to me, went back to that place in my mind.

Yesterday Jim and Sheena knocked on my mother's door in M'bah and gave her the ring. Sheena had found it in the top cupboard in the back parlour, carefully packed away in tissue, in the red velvet case, in a cup. Aunt Jean must have put it away so carefully even she couldn't find it, and Sheena didn't want to mail it so travelled 12,000 miles instead, SIX YEARS LATER.

Isn't that a story? My mum is delighted, beside herself - and is going to pack it away very carefully too!


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