Once upon a time, lovely children played in a back yard surrounded by a typical 1960’s chain link fence with one gate, the gate to freedom! On it hung three brass bells. I wonder if my mom thought she would catch us leaving the yard if she heard the bells ring? Did she know we were quite adept at climbing right over that fence? No gate kept us in.
Anyway, one day I asked my mom where those bells were, thinking, innocently, that they would be lovely to have in my own garden, in some form or fashion. She didn’t know where they were.
Turns out, my older sister took them. I don’t recall a family discussion about who should have these bells, whether they should be split up or kept together. No recollection of anything civilized like that.
So, Sunday I was going to my sister’s house and I called before I left and asked, “Can I see the bells today?” And she was very gracious and had the bells out when I got there. I got to see them, ring them, touch them, take pictures of them, and covet them. (See the picture of them above).
Then one of my nieces got nervous about me taking the bells, I guess, and took them away, back to whatever secret hiding place they have for them. I tried to talk my youngest niece into “putting the bells in my purse”, but she was having none of it, being the daughter of the one who has the Christmas bell, and thus just a bit suspicious of my motives.
I also offered my sister another family heirloom I have in exchange for the bells. It’s an older heirloom that goes back to our great-grandmother. I think the bells are a more recent addition, so I thought this was more than a fair trade. I wasn’t just trying to get the bells for nothing! She turned me down.
Unlike the Christmas bell, I have yet to find a set of these bells any place. If I do, I’m buying them and hanging them in my garden someplace, or putting them on my own gate.
By the way, the fact that I would put these bells outside is one of the excuses, I mean reasons, I mean rationalizations, that my sister has for keeping the bells. She keeps them inside where they will be safer. Plus she has three daughters, and I assume one day she’ll give them each one of the bells to have for their own.
(Update on the Christmas bells… I put in my 1st ever bid on eBay for a set of Christmas bells, just like the set I already had, but I was outbid, and dropped out. I’m not sure what I was going to do with a 2nd set, but for a minimum bid of $4.99, I thought I’d figure it out later. The sellers had a nice comment about how they had purchased the bells at Arth drugs in Lafayette, Indiana in 1956 for 79 cents and so I decided they must be Purdue graduates or at least from Indiana, like me.)
I enjoyed reading about your bells & I hope you’re able to find some like them!
Carol, I’m starting to feel bad that you didn’t get a darned thing to remember your childhood by! I hope one of your sisters takes pity on you, or barring that, they find out YOU have something they want!
Your bell stories remind me that one Christmas I hung a set of large jingle bells on the inside doorknob of the back door. I soon discovered that my dog would jingle them with his nose when he wanted to go out. After that the bells stayed up year-round!
Dear Lostroses; Don’t feel sorry for Carol. She has more than her share of “heirlooms”. Her grandmothers china elephant ring holder, the infamous purple vase, the felt nativity set my brother the priest gave me, the little iron boot that held matches for the coal stove, and many other little dodads she has appropiated
thru the years. She has always had an eye for the family “treasures”
I hope you are going to remember your lovely neice who collects elephants when you want to find a new home for the ring holder. It is even more appropriate that when she gets married, her last name will be the same as the original owner. The felt navitity set would be lovely setting next to the navitity set that all the aunts gave to the newly turned 18 year old neice, seeing as how you all gave her a set when she was one year old. I guess that leaves the iron boot for the oldest of this set of neices, perfect since iron is a chemical compound and she’s a chemist by education. Don’t you agree?
The older sister with the bells
I must add, lostroses, that I, the sister with the bell, have only the bell and the china cabinet. Carol’s list of family heirlooms goes on, and on, and on….so don’t feel sorry for her. She was sneaky enough to ask for this and that, and that… and that…. years ago, before anyone else thought of dividing out the family heirlooms (after all, our mother is still alive and well!) Carol is pretty darn funny though, I have to admit!
Hmm. You set me off, looking for brass bells.
I found a few:
These bells remind me of a brass cannister that my mom had. I found one ‘just like it’ at a resale shop. Then she moved to a smaller house, and I got the ‘original’ one, too.
I like the patterns on the brass.
And one more link, an essay:
Carol Michel says
Jenn, Thank you! Now I know these are Bells of Sarna and I can be on the look out for some that match it.
Lost Roses and Trudi, I appreciate your comments and sympathies toward my cause.
I just want a lovely bell or two or three to hang on my garden gate!
Eleanor, Kathy, and Sister(with the bell), Okay, okay, I stand corrected! Just trying to stick up for Carol, but it appears that isn’t necessary!
My sisters and I were also early recipients of family heirlooms and every once in a while we “eye” each other’s treasures and wonder if we made the right choice. Unfortunately, Auntie isn’t around anymore to referee so never a word is said!
Hi, to the sisters 3 – It is sad to read about the bells because sounds project such memories within our minds and hearts. How can you divide that? I recently lost my mom and although my mom left me everything within the home, I realized that my brothers are her children also. I separated with a lot of things that I hold dear but they need to have things to remember our home, our parents, and their childhood by. The youngest brother was the sneaky one and he took things from the home while we my older brother and myself were at the hospital during her critical moments. Yet, I recalled him saying things that he had connections to and that reminded him of our mom and dad, so I gave him things and out of the three of us he has the most valuable items and his kids will make out well when he dies because they will have antiques worth a lot of money. My older brother and I have things but they are not worth money, but they are worth their weight in sentiments and our kids feel exactly the same way, well know that their other cousins have the wealth things. If things come in threes and there are three of you with memories relating to those items then each sibling should get one of the set. It isn’t about nieces or nephews it is about you and each one of you recalling your childhood memory when you hold, hear, and see something from your past. Enjoy the pieces for today and let tomorrow take care of itself via a will. Place in the will which niece is to receive the bell you hold dear. Somethings are worth too much to our hearts and we just need to hold them and cherish them until the day comes when we pass them down. The truth of the matter is the most valuable memories are of my mom and dad and I would give everything away in a heartbeat to have them back in my life and to see, hear, and touch them so that I can recall everything I hold so very dear. Share everything with each other because you are one of each other just as the bells are a set, so are the three of you and don’t let anything separate you and giving a bell to each of you can only create an everlasting bond that will be passed down from you as sisters to your daughters/nieces as sisters. Share and share alike and happiness to you always.