*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
My mother doesn't enjoy wearing jewelry. She often says jewelry simply isn't her "cup of tea."
Unfortunately, it took decades before my father got the memo. Every year, he bought her several items of jewelry that she didn't like and refused to wear. The last straw was the gold chain necklace with a personalized name pendant dangling from it.
My mother hated that necklace from the moment she first laid eyes on it.
I remember long before she had a personalized necklace of her own, she often commented on how ugly and tacky she found them. They simply did not resonate with her.
"Will you forget who you are if you aren't wearing a necklace with your name on it? Or are you supposed to wear it so everyone else knows your name?" my mother asked. "I remember my name just fine without one."
"One day, my husband came home with a present for me. He'd had it wrapped and everything. I felt surprised because he rarely brings home wrapped presents for no reason, and it wasn't my birthday or our anniversary or anything," she said.
"Lo-and-behold, it was one of those tacky necklaces with my name on it. If he knew me at all, he would have known I hated them. Maybe they were having a sale at the jewelry store."
"I never liked jewelry, but when your father bought me one of those ugly necklaces with my name swinging on it, I couldn't believe my eyes," she continued. "Why would anyone want to wear such a piece of garbage?"
When my mother opened the jewelry box and saw what was inside, she pretended to like it. Then she wore it for an entire day before tucking it away in a dresser drawer and leaving it there for the last twenty-five years.
"I waited until it was bedtime before I took it off," my mother confided. "Just before I climbed into bed, I put the necklace back in the box and stuffed it in the back of the bottom drawer behind the old socks that I never wear. Maybe someday it will be an antique, and it will still be in brand new condition."
My mother isn't the only person I've known who received an unwanted personalized name necklace. I once had a friend named Julie whose well-meaning boyfriend bought her a necklace that proudly displayed the word "July."
The first time I saw Julie wearing the word July hanging on a gold chain around her neck, I felt puzzled. I squinted at the necklace and tried to remember her birthdate. She was born in December.
Julie must have seen the expression on my face, because she commented immediately. "It says Julie," she said.
"Okay," I replied. I wasn't planning on disagreeing. To each their own, I thought, knowing she did not spell her name like the month.
"I know," she replied without my prompting her. "It says July. My boyfriend thought it said Julie."
What do you think? Would you hide a necklace if you didn't like it as my mother did, or would you wear it proudly to make your partner happy as Julie did with her July necklace?