The similarities between my maternal grandmother, Marilyn Kimmel, and I have always been pretty obvious: Our love of books (I get all my favorite reads from her), our senses of humor, our taste in movies, our affinity for a night in with a good movie or Curb Your Enthusiasm rerun rather than attending a loud party. These things are the basis for our deeply close relationship, but, surprisingly, we never really realized our initials are the same until this past July.
I grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, just four houses away from my grandparents, so my grandmother was always a consistent presence in my life. During my childhood, I remember her as having the best picture books as well as the best voice for reading them. As I grew up, I was able to develop something that more closely resembled a friendship with my grandmother. I would walk to her house, and we would sit talking for hours. Despite a six-decade gap, she could make me laugh harder than any of my friends at school.
Once I moved up north for college, I didn’t get to speak to my grandmother as much. Despite how “up” she is on politics, international news, and even pop culture (the last time I was in Florida, she asked me my opinions on Channing Tatum, whom she thought “looked so great in that movie about magic”), she doesn’t love talking on the phone and she doesn’t know how to use e-mail. Getting to see her is always the highlight of going back to south Florida.
I turned 21 this past July, and it was the first birthday I had ever spent away from home. I was feeling a mix of excitement and sadness about it, but that quickly changed to just excitement when a small purple package arrived at my apartment. Instantly, I knew who it was from — purple is my grandmother’s favorite color.
On the outside of the box was a small notecard (written in purple ink, of course) explaining that what was inside had been given to her by her grandmother when she had turned 21. Inside was a gold nameplate “MK” necklace from Marilyn Kimmel to Michelle King. I put it on immediately and didn’t take it off for two weeks.
Full disclosure: Nameplate jewelry has never really been my thing. I try to steer clear of any accessory that will give someone the opportunity to make a Carrie Bradshaw comparison (no offense, Carrie), but sentimental value aside, I love this piece. Because it’s only my initials, it’s easy to layer with my other necklaces, or put on different chains. Sometimes, I’ll put a pin through the pendant and wear it on a sweater or blazer. Plus, since it doesn’t say my name, I don’t have to endure creepy guys on the subway using my accessories to their advantage.
My grandmother was worried that the necklace would seem too dated. After all, this was something she had originally worn more than 60 years ago. But the thing about a really great accessory — the kind you don’t just like but really love for reasons far beyond its sartorial appeal — is that no amount of time passed can take away its value.