Laura & Harry's Love Story...
It's the Summer of 2015 and I'm a vendor for an outdoor event. It hot and muggy in Missouri, and even though my tent provides shade, there is little to no breeze, and I feel like I'm melting. Plus, the heat always brings out the bugs - so I'm left to wonder if that's a BUG running down my back or just sweat? Good times...
In the midst of feeling sorry for myself and loathing the heat, a sweet older lady walks into my booth...her name was Laura. I give my usual greeting and ask if she's familiar with Origami Owl - to which she tells me she is not. I explain that I help people to connect with the moments that matter most with our jewelry, and I share the locket I'm wearing and the meaning behind the charms I chose. She smiles brightly and says "I think I'd like to make one. Will you help me?" - I reply of course, and we get to work.
Laura tells me that she wants her locket to be all about her husband. She smiles as she picks her first charm - an ice cream cone. She shares that she and her husband's first date was in an ice cream shop, and how he was so nervous and so chatty that most of his ice cream melted before he even ate it. She told me they still made time to have ice cream dates for years to come. Next she chose an Army boot - her husband spent 30 year in the Army before he retired, and they had many military moves over the years. She shared with me a few of the places they traveled and how their 5 children were born in 5 different states or countries. She then chose the letter "H" - his name is Harry. She finds the gold wedding ring charm and shares with me the beautiful gold ring on her hand that her husband worked so hard to save up for. Then she chose the Family charm, and shares what a wonderful, patient father her husband was as the kids were growing up. And the last charm Laura chose - the Angel Wings charm. To be honest - up until this point, I had not realized we were building a memorial locket. She spoke of Harry in a very present tense - as if he were standing beside her. She smiled at the wings and told me he was her guardian angel, and that she knew he was always with her. For a moment, I saw sadness in her eyes...but also SO MUCH LOVE and gratitude for the time they shared together. They had been married for 52 years before his passing.
We assembled her charms into a gold locket with long chain, and I placed it around her neck. She twisted the locket around to see the charms, and her face was absolutely glowing. She thanked me for helping her and told me she would wear her locket every day to keep Harry close.
After Laura left my booth I let it all sink in. What I do MATTERS. What I do MEANS SOMETHING. A complete stranger shared her 50+ year love story with me, and we were able to capture just a bit of it in a locket. So simple - with such a huge impact.
I stopped complaining about the heat after that. Had I not been there, I would never have met Laura and learned all about Harry. I would have never met the other people that came into my booth to tell THEIR stories. That's truly the BEST part about my job - building relationships and sharing the moments that shape our lives. And I can't even begin to tell you the lessons I've learned along the way!
I think Harry was a VERY lucky man. I was pretty luck that day, too.