Barbara Turkdal East Bangor, PA

Charmed, I am Sure...
By Barbara Turkdal

WOW!  To tell my life story in ten charms is a monumental task. I could fill ten charm bracelets with ten charms each and just hit the high points. Paring down my list of charms was actually enjoyable for me as I went down Memory Lane while doing this chore.

I start with an emotional charm, Baby Bootie-December (charm #2734) in the memory of my daughter Jennifer, who passed away in 1980 at the age of five and a half years of age after a lengthy illness.
Her passing while I was only in my early twenties affected the way I approached life from then on into the future. With a strong faith, I was able to survive the initial mourning period and make progress in making life livable once again. 

For my mother, who just turned 80 on April first, I will bestow honor with the charm named Bouquet (charm #4507). My reasoning for this is for the many, many bouquets of flowers I have presented to her over the years.  From Dandelions, Sweet Peas & Violets to Roses, Azaleas & Tulips, Mom accepted each bouquet with great happiness and appreciation. When I see flowers I think of her.

The Pineapple (charm #7777) will represent a special trip to New Orleans in the 1990s. My sister, my brother and I attended our father's army reunion with him and we had a blast together as adults.
Debby, Bill & I went on a tour of the southern plantations and learned that although the pineapple means "welcome" should you find one on the foot of your bed, your visit should be ending soon as you are overstaying your "welcome". For all the facts we learned on that tour, those pineapples still remain a point of humor to this day! That trip was the first time we siblings traveled with Dad together as adults and the last time we all were together in good health. Dad passed away shortly thereafter.

While I was away, waiting at home for my safe return was my husband, now of nearly 19 years. It has been difficult to choose one charm to demonstrate his part of my life. My husband, Frank, was born in the Republic of Turkey. He has many family members living overseas.

I have chosen the Turkey (charm #3851) for this most important person in my life. Thanksgiving is my personal favorite holiday. I love the low-pressure day for visitations with family and friends (unless you are doing all he cooking!) The Turkey, for this bracelet, characterizes my love for Frank. The many feathers the Thanksgiving Turkey has compares to the number of Turkish family members I have met, cared for, lived with and love. Though turkeys are not great at flying, I have been fortunate to have flown to the Republic of Turkey several times. (Does anyone recall the TV show WKRP and its Thanksgiving Promotion Episode?)

On one of these visits to Turkey, I was able to achieve a goal that I had set somewhat as a joke years earlier.  Found in an old box of photos was a picture of my Great Grandfather riding a camel in Jerusalem. When I saw this photo, I said that someday, I, too, would ride a camel. Adding Camel (charm #1163) to my bracelet marks my completion of this wish. The photo of me on the camel is one of my favorites.

Another dream realized for me came as a birthday gift of a trip to Amsterdam and Paris from who else, but Frank. The Dutch Shoe (charm #8160) will dangle along with the camel as Mission Accomplished.

In Amsterdam, we did the touristy things: A museum, a visit to the home where Anne Frank and her family hid during the WWII, the wooden shoe shops, cheese factories, the canals and the windmills.  Then we sought out other Turkish people and shared many hours with them. For all the walking we did in Amsterdam, the Dutch Shoe is a perfect symbol of this special trip.

Bringing my thoughts back to the USA, I must have a charm on the bracelet for my good friend, Patti.  We met at work decades ago and became great friends. We no longer work together, but every year free up a week in the summer for a "girls only" week at the Jersey Shore. It started as an overnight trip but over the years has grown to a five-day week. I chose the Shell with Pearl (charm #0552) for this important part of my life. The shell, of course, represents the shore & ocean. The pearl represents Patti as for years she has worn a pearl necklace. Our friendship is a true treasure. We are opposites in many ways, but we do travel well together - and here, I can hear her laughter.

For myself, I have picked one of my many enjoyments. I could have chosen my hobbies of gardening, reading, crafting, woodworking, cooking or painting. I thought long and hard and found the one pleasurable thing that I also do while doing most everything else. This is shown by the charm Charm description (charm #0263). I love music, to listen, to sing and to analyze the songs' lyrics brings me mental relaxation and "food for thought". I love all kinds of music with very few exceptions. Music has always been a part of me - the poetry of the lyrics telling of so many emotions, many felt by me at one time or another.

I have a new partner in life - he is a two-year-old boy who is giving our family just what it needed by energizing us and giving us more reason to live (and play).  Jake is the missing piece of our puzzle, therefore I found the Puzzle Piece (charm #2479) to be the best "fit" for how this little guy has influenced our daily living. A child loves unconditionally and those hugs feel so good!

And for the Final Charm, I dare to sound like Miss Congeniality. I selected my wish for the world and all her inhabitants, World Peace. I think that Peace Sign (charm #2148) says it all. I know in this war torn world it may seem impossible. I believe by setting example in my daily living and with my relations with others, that the world CAN be a better place for all. When I feel overwhelmed and helpless, I remember that one step towards peace is still progress.

I thoroughly enjoyed this contest and of course, hope I am selected for the lucky charm bracelet.

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