I am a farmer’s daughter. As a child in rural upstate New York, the outdoors was my delight and sometimes my refuge. Watching the weather, paying attention to the lay of the land, delighting in well-tended fields and orchards, all of these are in my blood and are likely some of the reasons I feel more at home in an agricultural area than I do in desert or mountains.
Yet, there’s always this pull towards the sea. And I blame that on my childhood also. You see, if my dad had had a successful year of farming, we spent two weeks in Florida at some point during the winter, usually in January or February. And that time was spent mostly on the beach – day after lazy day of walking the beaches, digging sand castles, playing in the surf of the Gulf, and collecting shells. My step-mother, Norma, became an avid collector and we all learned to identify many different kinds of shells. Decades later, I still cannot walk a beach without looking down and trying to spot a sand dollar or a fan or a cowrie or a cat’s paw. And to find a whole nutmeg? What a coup!
After a few trips to Florida, Norma began to make shell jewelry with all the shells we had collected. I still have this fan pendant that she made sometime during the 1970s, along with several other shell pendants.
I wore these shell pendants all the time as a teen, but over the years they got pushed to the back of my jewelry boxes and at this point, this fan is the only one not in storage. I think it is time to find a chain for it and begin wearing it again!