My grandmother passed away on August 20, 2008. All I have left to remember her by are 12 gold beads. These beads have a very special meaning to me.
I was born in Pelzer, SC where Nanny and Papa lived and where my daddy was born also. I was even delivered by the same doctor that delivered daddy. Momma and I lived with Nanny and Papa my first year of life because daddy was in the Navy and on sea duty. Nanny worked in the local 5 and 10 store. Every year on April 15th start with my first birthday she bought a gold bead and put it on a gold chain. After momma and I started to stay with daddy and follow where ever the Navy sent him, I would go to Nanny and Papa's for the summer. I started knowing about Nanny buying the gold beads when I was 5 or 6. I would beg her to let me have them and wear them. She would only say not now they are for you when you are older. Every summer I looked forward to going to see Nanny and Papa and seeing the new bead on my necklace. The summer of my 9th birthday was my last summer with them, for the Navy decided to send daddy overseas for the next 6 years. Nanny quit working after she bought the 12th bead. When the Navy decided to send daddy back to America I was 15 and didn't spend as much of my summers at Nanny and Papa. I had an after school job and friends and my boyfriend now husband. I had forgotten about my necklace and apparently so had Nanny.
Papa died 2 years ago with Alzheimer's and unfortunately Nanny also had it. As momma and my aunt cleaned out the house to sell it earlier this year, they found all of Nanny's jewelry and my necklace. As my husband and I left to go to the funeral, I realized I had left without any jewelry on. But when I arrived at the funeral home momma handed me my necklace. I quickly put it on and handled each bead remembering the joyous times I had with my grandparents.
These beads will help me to remember the great times I spent with my grandparents. Going to work with Nanny, going to church and chewing all of her gum, wearing her jewelry and perfume, getting up at 3am to watch the train go by (the tracks cut through their backyard), helping Papa with his garden, eating watermelon on the concrete picnic table that daddy made and I now have in my backyard, and watching Johnny Carson with Nanny every night.
Pelzer is now a place for my memories. The house belongs to someone else, boy how they have changed it. No more family living there. The graves are in Anderson, but that's all that is there. Nanny and Papa are reunited with their Lord and Savior.