This souvenir brooch from the Isle of Man belonged to my mother, but I don’t know the story behind it. I don’t remember her ever mentioning having been there, but she may well have done, or perhaps it was a gift from someone else’s holiday. I don’t recall her ever wearing it, and it doesn’t look as if it has been removed from its original card mount very often. However, this lucky Manx cat brooch now has its own story.
It lived in this simple wooden jewellery box along with all my Mum’s cheap jewellery: various inexpensive brooches and necklaces given to her over the years, many from us children.
This box lives on my dressing table, but I keep Mum’s other jewellery box, containing her valuables, well hidden. My own jewellery, mostly a collection of unusual, inexpensive but irreplaceable silver charms, I kept in a miniature antique wooden chest of drawers which lived on my mantelpiece. I had intended to write a blog post about that little chest of drawers, as it had belonged to my Mum when she was a girl, when she kept her handkerchiefs in it. She gave it to me when I was young and I treasured it. It survived a burglary at a flat I was living in back in 1992, when the thieves raided it for gold and, finding none apart from a cheap gold chain I had won in a Christmas cracker, left me my charms and charming little chest of drawers. Sadly I never got around to writing that post, because 2 weeks ago I was not so lucky. This time the thieves took the whole chest, silver charms and all; apparently silver is more valuable these days.
My mother’s wooden box was left behind, empty. They took the contents, including her silver watch and several brooches I remember buying her on holidays in Ireland and Scotland. Other pieces had been gifts from my Dad or brothers or her many friends. And Mum’s wartime ARP Warden badge, which, again, I had intended to write a blog post about, but didn’t get around to it…
I had never really examined this unremarkable wooden box before, but now it was empty I noticed for the first time the name Watson stuck inside the lid. So this item is another keepsake from Auntie in Churt.
Tidying up after the burglary the next day, as I was picking up the pieces both physically and emotionally, I found this brooch lying on the bedroom floor. It must have fallen out when they emptied the box into my rucksack (also stolen). The little no-tail has thus proved its good luck credentials, and I intend to wear Mum’s lucky Manx cat at any time in future when I may feel in need of a little bit of luck.