Wednesday, 11 January 2012

String of Pearls

Don't judge a book by it's cover. That's what we're told, but how many of us are first attracted to a book by  the lovely glossy scene on the cover which  makes us inquisitive as to what delights await us inside. Authors strive to choose the most attractive cover for their books, to draw us to it, but what if we by- pass the book with a not so bright cover and miss reading maybe a more interesting story.
Are we sometimes as quick to judge people? Do we judge them by their covers too?
I sometimes either like or dislike people on a first meeting but recently I have been thinking that maybe people, like a book can take a while to get into and understand their story.
What I'm trying to say is the first impression something or someone has on us may not always the right one and should never be the final one.
We will sometimes need an explanation of what we at first didn't like, to understand it.

When I was about seven or eight years old I was given a gift by the father of my mum's friend. I never knew her friend as she died not long after I was born but my mum and her were very close. I remember seeing  a photograph of her, she had been ill with cancer and in this photo she was sitting up in bed, she most probably looked unwell because I told my mum she scared me. Mum said she was a lovely person but I can remember thinking that (from a photo ) I didn't like her.
Parents didn't discuss illness or death with children when I was young and I think I was just scared. I feel really awful now as mum never really spoke about her again and I never asked. I looked for the photo in her possessions when she died but it wasn't there.

Back to the gift. It must have been my birthday, the gift was a red oblong box which at first sight I had decided was a new pencil box and as I opened the clasp to feast my eyes upon the shiny new pencils and perhaps a ruler and rubber I saw a string of pearls. I was not happy and still remember the feeling of  disappointment  but I  hope that even although I was young and as you can tell I said stupid things, that I hid my feelings from the poor man.

When we arrived home I told my mum of having thought  it was a pencil box and I didn't want pearls which were for old ladies. She explained to me they were cultured pearls which meant the were real and probably expensive. This information still didn't really do anything for me and the pearls lay in the box for years although I did always make sure they were in a safe place. My mum borrowed them from time to time always asking me first if she could. Then when I reached  my twenties something clicked in my brain and I realised what a lovely gift I had been given.
Thinking about this and writing it down I have only just realised that maybe the pearls belonged to his daughter because I can't imagine a man going out and buying such a young girl real pearls. Perhaps my mum didn't want to tell me because I said her friend's photo scared me, I never asked her and it's too late now.

I judged my mum's friend from a photograph and now I think her father gave me her precious jewellery.
I judged the gift by it's cover (box) I thought I knew all about it before it was even opened. Then I didn't like what I saw, could see no use for it, but I held on to it, treated it as something precious and now forty six years later the string of pearls is one of my most treasured possessions. I wish I hadn't been so quick to judge and I hope that somehow, somewhere, the giver of my gift  knows how very much my string of pearls mean to me
Not quite so shiny, 46yrs later

My precious pearls.


  1. What a great post and what a lovely gift. It's so sad when we have that "too late" feeling - too late to tell people what they meant to us. Your mum's friend was clearly a lovely person which means her dad was a lovely person too, lovely enough to give you such a wonderful gift. He will have known how a child's mind works. He will have known that, one day, those pearls would mean so much to you.
    A lovely story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Rebecca.
    Shirley, I cried tears writing this post and have more tears reading your comments.I never thought of the point you made that her father knew how I would react,in fact I've never told this story before.But you've made me feel better about it,thanks.

  3. Reading it brought a tear to my eye too but I'm so glad you feel better about it. Treasure those pearls.

  4. What an amazing post. Thanks for sharing with us. Saw you at, following your blog via GFC, please visit me whenever you have time. Wishing you a great week.

  5. What a lovely insight and a lovely post thankyou for sharing the pearls and story, treasure those pearls!

    (returning the follow and thankyou for the kind comment) Junglemum (

  6. May and Junglemum83. Thanks for visiting and for your comments hope to see you back soon.

  7. Oh my I was wondering how much I had missed on your blog and I know I have read this post before and remember how much it moved me. Now I realise I never posted a comment, I am so sorry! This was exceptionally beautiful and moving, like Shirley I agree he would have understood, so don't fret, just treasure them now.

  8. Diane, thank you so much for your lovely comments. You and Shirley have made me look at things differently.


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