The Bell Mishap

December 9, 2010

Guest Post

by Diahann’s daughter Jenny

In introducing this blog almost a year ago, my mom alluded to the fact that my great-grandmother’s bells were “lost in a mishap.” That was actually a kind way of referencing the scrooge-like person that caused the bells to disappear and now, years later, for my mom to finally punish me by making me, a decidedly non-tech-savvy, non-blogger, pen this post admitting my responsibility for the lost beaded bells.

The beaded bells graced our Christmas tree for as long as I can remember, and were always some of my favorite Christmas decorations. At some point when I was in college, my mom stopped putting them on our regular Christmas tree as the bells made way for the collection of Barbie and NFL quarterback ornaments we accumulated. I missed the bells, though. To me, it’s the older, traditional decorations that really make it feel like Christmastime.

When I finished school and moved away, my mom gave me the set of beaded bells. She warned me that if I ever didn’t want them, I had to give them back—I shouldn’t give or throw them away (at the time I was a little offended by this—as if I would throw away my favorite ornaments?!).

For several Christmases, I decorated my own little tree with the beaded bells. Then I moved to a nicer apartment, where I had a storage locker in a securely locked room in the basement. Acting uncharacteristically for myself, I got all organized and placed my “seasonal” box down in the storage locker. Just to be safe, I put that box in the very back, and put additional boxes and bags of junk items needing to go to goodwill on top of and in front of the ornaments box.

I proceeded to forget about everything in the storage locker for nearly a year. Then one day a sign appeared near the mailboxes of my apartment building warning residents that there had been a rash of thefts in the storage lockers. I went to check mine out and everything looked okay at first. Then, suddenly I remembered the box of ornaments. Sure enough, though all my goodwill-bound junk was still there, the box of Christmas stuff—and the bag of Great Grandma’s beaded bells—were gone. Not only had someone broken into my locker, but they’d dug through everything until they found the Christmas ornaments and specifically took just that box. Who does that?!

I reported the theft to my building management, trying to stress the importance of the ornaments, but sadly the thief was never caught and the bells were gone for good. I remembered my mom had written a little note about the history of the beaded bells and placed it in the plastic bag with the ornaments. I wondered if the person who took them would have a change of heart after reading their historical importance, so I repeatedly checked back in the storage room looking for the bells to be returned—but no luck.

Feeling distraught about losing my favorite Christmas ornaments, and also not really wanting to admit to my mom that I’d allowed them to get stolen, I became a little desperate. First, I started checking Craigslist and eBay, convinced that the thief could be trying to sell these valuable antique ornaments for a profit. Sadly, they didn’t turn up. However, I did find for sale a kit for making beaded bells. As a sign of how truly desperate I was, I decided to purchase the kit, thinking that I could make my mom a replacement set (and hey, maybe even a set for myself also).

Unlike Great Grandma, and most of the rest of my family, I am not crafty. I really tried though. I spent several hours a night after work, trying to figure out the instructions, manipulate the teeny-tiny beads onto fishline, figuring out I completely misread the instructions 10 steps ago, undoing, redoing, etc. etc.

Finally, after about two weeks of evening working, my bell (yes, one bell) was done.

Not too shabby right? Wrong.

Needless to say, I had to confess to my mom that the bells were lost. I thought she took it surprisingly well (not knowing that she’d later force me to confess my responsibility to the entire internet). I’m happy that my mom has decided to make beaded bells, and that hers are looking much better than mine!

And somewhere out there, I hope that thief is actually using the beaded bells this Christmas, taking to heart my mom’s history note that was kept with the bells in the stolen box.

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