The coat was the most gorgeous fur piece I had ever seen in my 26 years and it was a gift for me. My late husband, Michael, surprised me with a long-haired Russian Lynx coat. I was in triple shock! I felt like Katherine the Great and Anastasia all rolled into one ... this girl from Kankakee by the Sea! I never stopped loving my Lynx coat. When I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, in my late thirties, I put the coat in storage! I could not part with my queen-like treasure.
Unfortunately my Lynx coat caused a rift between my cousin and me.
She bought everything special that I wore! I would constantly say to her, "Madeline, why do you have to copy my style and buy everything I buy?"
Her answer was, "Because I look up to you and love your look."
I would respond, "Well, please stop looking up to me and loving everything I have and figure out your own style."
And then one day, she told me, "I bought a Russian Lynx coat. Now we can be twins!"
"I don't want you to be my twin, Madeline." The coat episode was the last straw and our relationship cooled.
I immediately phoned my mom in tears.
After calming me down my mom taught me a lesson that I continue to carry with me to this day; passing my mother's teachings to my children and grandchildren.
My mother said to me, "If someone loves what you own and wants information, it is a tribute to your style so share your information because you are receiving a supreme compliment."
My mother's comment hit a positive nerve. She was right and from that day I have enjoyed sharing my resources.
The Story of Sharing a Buccellati Bracelet
This next story took place last month, 40 years later. I phoned my brother to ask him to meet me.
My brother replied, "Ok, but first meet me at Buccellati jeweler in Chicago. I am thinking about buying JoAnn a bracelet or a pair of earrings and want your advice. I can't make up my mind."
This was the scene as I walked into the shop ... three sales people hovering over my brother who was seated in front of a black velvet tray with three pair of earrings and the most divine Buccellati bracelet. My little heart immediately felt a total attachment to this jewel. I loved everything about it! The bracelet was white and yellow gold with a floral design and diamonds. I desperately wanted that bracelet to 'be mine.'
My brother immediately said, "Which of the four pieces is your favorite?"
"The bracelet, hands down!" I replied. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to say, "I love the gold filigree earrings" but I couldn't lie.
"Try on the bracelet," said my brother.
I tried it on and it fit perfectly! I just fell in love!
My brother hovered over the black velvet tray. I was praying he would choose the earrings! "Please choose the earrings," I kept saying to my inner self.
He finally said, "I am going to buy the earrings and the bracelet."
My heart did a double sink but I did not let on.
As the salesperson was writing up the charge my brother said, "I changed my mind. I am only going to buy the earrings!"
I could not contain myself and with joy in my voice I said, "Then I am going to buy the bracelet!!"
My brother said nothing, took the earrings and told me he would meet in front of the shop with his car.
They wrapped up 'my accidental divine find' in a beautiful pink box with a large bow and handed it to me. I wanted to take it home to Shelly so he could give it to me!
I left the shop and got into my brother's car. Before I could close the car door my brother blurted out, "Now I wish I had bought the bracelet!"
I smiled to myself almost laughing because I knew he would do this and I said, "Call Buccellati and order one for JoAnn. I would love that! Then we can wear our bracelets together." And I truly felt happy.
Upon arriving home I held out my arms with the beautiful pink box; handed it to Shelly so he could give me my new bracelet!
And then I phoned my mother to tell her the story and I ended with, "Mom, your lesson 40 years ago has served me well. I share all of my style secrets, my saleswomen, my do's and my don'ts, my manicurist, my choices of make-up and even my thoughts. And it is because of you, mom. Thank you!"
As mothers and grandmothers we have the responsibility to convey our wisdom to our children and grandchildren. Our little darlings will not remember or learn from our financial gifts. They will reap from what we leave them in their heads as we continue to learn from our mother's wisdom.