Someone in Pasadena might remember this story, as I’ve told it several times over the years. It includes a young man from Corner Brook, a friend of Sheila’s, I believe. Also, it tells of the kindness of a mother.
One night in the summer of my thirteenth year, if my memory serves me well, I met a young man from Corner Brook who had no place to stay for the night. Wanting to help him out, I asked my mother if she knew what we could do to help. There was no room at our house, but she offered this young fellow some blankets and a pillow to take to a friend’s tent out on the beach. That is where he spent the night.
The next day this same young man walked in to Midland Row and returned all of my mother’s bedclothes and pillow and I walked with him out to the highway for his trip back home to Corner Brook. He was a handsome teenager, a little older than me, and he was happy that my mother had also given him some food before he left. He was so overjoyed, in fact, that he took off his cat’s eye ring and gave it to me.
I turned to give it back to him, but he had caught a ride and just put up his arm to say goodbye. I didn’t see him afterwards but I had the ring for many years. Although I didn’t meet up with him again, I often wondered what happened to him. How did his life turn out?
When I was a waitress at Seven Seas, I showed the ring to an older lady from Corner Brook and she said the ring looked like one her friend had bought for her son. She told me how her friend was disappointed when her son would not tell her what happened to it because she thought he would treasure it and never part with it.
Many years later when I was working at the Royal Bank at Queen and Roncesvalles in Ontario, I met a woman who was a single parent. She had two sons and when the oldest one saw the ring on my finger, he admired it and wished he had one like it. I had held on to the ring as a symbol of my friendship with Brian, a young man who was so appreciative of what my mother had done for him, that he parted with his treasured ring. Then I handed over the ring to this young man who was very poor and thought he would never own a ring like it.
Now I often think back to that young man who became the owner of the cat’s eye ring. I imagine him wearing the ring and one day passing it on to another young person, perhaps his son. Or maybe like me, he passed it on to someone who he felt would appreciate it more than him.
Life has often taught me that I don’t need to hold on to physical objects to appreciate them. My memories will remain as long as I remain or until some illness robs me of them. As we all know no matter how much money or jewels we accumulate we can’t take any of it with us.