By Marge McMillen
We all go through stages in our lives, don’t we? I know from pics of myself that I was a cherubic baby and an adorable little girl, but by the age of nine, I had fully morphed into the ugly duckling stage. My naturally curly hair was now a mass of brown frizz, and I had a nose that insisted on being the star of my face. My body was much like that of Olive Oyl, except that she had Popeye, and I didn’t.
Those tween years were tough, but magically, as I approached my twelfth birthday, boys were suddenly showing an interest in me. Could this be? Now I looked into the mirror and saw my tamed hair, a filled-out face where my eyes had taken over the starring role, and a body that was becoming more softly rounded. Mother Nature can be both cruel and kind.
And so, when I was 15 years old, it was easy for me to say no to my friend when she asked me to go out on a double date with her and her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s buddy. A blind date? Who needed it? She promptly changed my mind when she pointed out that instead of having fun with friends on that Saturday night, I would instead be sitting home with my parents, looking at a 12” black and white screen inserted into that newfangled invention called television.
And so that is how I met Bob McMillen, the boy who would become the man I would marry. The Korean War was in full force when he graduated, and he was an Air Force veteran of two years when he proposed to me.
I readily accepted his offer of having his deceased mother’s diamond put into a setting for my engagement ring, since I knew he couldn’t afford a chip, and thanked my lucky stars that I had done so when he presented me with a beautiful three-quarter caret diamond ring.
For years, I never took it off except to clean it, and so it was with heart-stopping fear when one day, while riding in our car, I discovered the diamond was missing. I became hysterical, while Bob stoically tried to calm my fear. I then remembered catching the ring on the elasticized cuff of my jacket that I had put on just before entering our car, so we retraced our journey. What I had originally thought of as a huge diamond, was now just a glistening speck in our driveway, and it was truly a miracle that we found it.
Now fast-forward a few decades. We are now on a tour of Ireland and enjoying a dinner in our hotel when I reached for something on the table and noticed my diamond was once again missing.
I calmly pointed this out to my husband. Oh, OK, you know that’s not true. In response to my hysteria, Bob mentioned that they were planning to vacuum our tour bus and suggested we quickly get in touch with our tour guide before that happened. Tearfully, I agreed and pushed my chair back from the table. Don’t ask me why I looked down at that moment, but there, on the rug right next to me, was my diamond, practically thumbing its nose at me.
Suffice it to say, we had it remounted in a six-prong setting rather than the four it had previously been housed in, and that has proven to be the answer. I haven’t lost it since.
Sadly, Bob has passed, but I’m happy to say I’m still wearing his mother’s elusive diamond.
Marge McMillen of East Amherst believes one particular jewel is special.