A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Forever Paris Contest: grieving the loss of my mom

This is my prize! The Forever Paris charm came in a Limited Edition box.
The leather sleeve contains the certificate of authenticity.
Pandora recently held a contest on Instagram to win a limited-edition gold Eiffel Tower charm. Fans were asked to, "Share a photo and write why you are a true Pandora fan." I submitted a photo and write-up on five of the six days that the contest ran. This was my first submission, on June 21, and the story and photo that won!

For your information the contest details are at the end of the post.

Grieving the Loss of My Mom
One of the ways that I am a true Pandora fan is that I have used Pandora in ways that are different than most Pandora collectors, and written stories about them. One of the unique things I've done is to use Pandora to grieve the death of my mother - and to celebrate her life.

This bracelet I call "My Unforgettable Mom - her life in charms." The process of writing stories about these Pandora charms has become part of the process of grieving - looking through her old photo albums, reading her letters and journals, and writing blog posts around the story of her life. 
This photo [above] was taken in 1952 on my mother's first trip to Europe. She brought home a charm bracelet for her younger sister with a charm from each place she visited: on this trip, Switzerland [cow bell], England [Marble Arch], France [Eiffel Tower], Italy [gondola from Venice], Holland [wooden shoe] and Scotland [highland dancer].

Map of Australia added by Aunt Edna after she lived Down Under and married an Australian
I would love to retrace her steps and do a Pandora travel bracelet, including the Eiffel Tower. But in the meantime I have this ["My Unforgettable Mom"] bracelet in her memory.

Each charm has a special meaning. From her early years in the 1920's and her childhood nickname Fishy, to playing basketball in university and earning three degrees. From her work as a research scientist to her trips to Europe in the 1950's and 60's. From visiting art galleries and becoming an accomplished artist herself, to getting married and raising a family. From becoming a teacher, and then a literacy tutor, to losing her sight and becoming blind. For standing up for what she believed in, including access for the disabled, to travelling the world, despite being blind. From a trip to Greece with me, to becoming a grandmother of three. And finally, from losing track of time to a battle with Alzheimer's which took her life eight years ago. The "amazing" charm, simply because she was not only an amazing mom but an amazing person.

My Mom shortly before she retired from teaching.
Verna Georgie (Leonard) Holmes

From the Left: Verna (my Mom age 25), Barb, Jan and Joan
I was so shocked when I enlarged this photo.
Can you see what surprised me?!!
*(If you can't guess I will tell you at the bottom of the post)

Paris June 10-14 (1952)
Barb on Champs Elysees; Garden in Reid Hall
From the steps of the Madeline

Jan, Barb, and Joan at Versailles; Garden at Versailles

Barb (left) and Verna (right) Palace of Versailles

Jan and Arc du Carrousel; Verna in Touleries Garden

Barb, Roz Shaffer and Jan; Roz, Verna and Jan
Roz's house in Malmaison

Touleries Garden; Getting directions to Malmaison (Pam-Pam Champs Elysees)

 Champs Elysees from Touleries Garden to Arc d' Triomphe; Eiffel Tower

Bank of the Seine near Eiffel Tower; Joan, Verna and Jan

Enroute to Eiffel Tower (Shopping Girls?); Under Eiffel Tower

Café on Eiffel Tower; Verna, Joan and Barb Paris Station

Joan and Jan; From top of Eiffel Tower Trocodero - United Nations Building

From the top of the Eiffel Tower
Arc d'Triumphe in Centre; River Seine

*Can you see what surprised me?!!
The girls all have cigarettes in their hands! I suppose everybody smoked in those days, and they didn't yet know the dangers of smoking, but still it was my MOM! I've never seen her smoke. She smoked until she was pregnant with me and then it made her too nauseous so she quit. My mom taught at a community college and I remember her having a "black lung" specimen in her lab to show her students the effects of smoking. Later in life she would tell people she was allergic to cigarette smoke so they wouldn't smoke at meetings! And there she is, plain as day, smoking on the Eiffel Tower!

Related Posts:

Forever Paris Contest: using Pandora charms in my recovery - a story about the role Pandora has played with links to stories about some of the charms; my submission for June 22, 2016

Forever Paris Contest: the meaning of Pandora's box - a story about how Pandora has helped me and what it represents, now with photos of my Pandora's box charm and the bracelet it's on; my submission for June 23, 2016

Forever Paris Contest: Pandora fans are not Grinches - a story about collecting Pandora promo items and the community of Pandora collectors (with some Dr. Seuss inspired rhyming); my submission for June 24, 2016

Forever Paris Contest: Ode to Pandora - a silly poem I wrote about Pandora, now with a photo for each stanza as well as a photo of my whole collection to date; my submission for June 26, 2016

My new Eiffel Tower next to the old photo my mom took over 60 years ago.

Here is Pandora's description of the contest:
"To celebrate summer in the city of love, Pandora has created a limited-edition 'Forever Paris' dangle charm, and from June 20 - 26 you can win it in our #PandoraForeverParisContest. Each piece is beautifully crafted from 14K gold and features two diamonds.
"Because they are true collector's items, only 500 have been produced. Each dangle charm is engraved with a unique number (from 1-500) and they are only sold in selected stores in France but we have kept 10 for you!" 
Contest rules were available on Pandora.net.
The charm was valued at 599 € (approximately $860 CDN/$665 USD)

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