Thursday, November 11, 2010
The Most Precious Souvenir
Rich couldn't find any links readily available, but a fellow seaman offered him a big spool of platinum. Rich declined the offer to keep the entire spool, but instead only took what he needed to craft seven oval shaped links to hold the coins together.
Years later, Rich said he could have kicked himself for turning down such an offer. Platinum wasn't worth much during the 40s and so he wasn't enthused about the idea of hauling that spool around for the duration of the war.
"It could have been worth so much these days," he'd say wistfully, looking at his well worn hands.
While making the bracelet, Rich hammered the smaller Australian coins into concave shapes, allowing the bracelet to naturally curve around a woman's wrist. Some of the coins, dating back to as far as 1916, held with them their own untold stories.
The sailor's greatest gesture, sanding down one side of the largest, centerpiece coin and inscribing, "To My Wife Sallie With Love Rich."
Thousands of miles away from home and thinking about his wife. Thinking about the reasons why so many American servicemen were at war.
Rich returned home to Sallie, safe and sound, and went on to start a family. Through the years, he volunteered and marched in parades with a Youngstown American Legion post, proudly wearing pins and other remembrances of his service.