Engagement

atoz-E

Day E in the Blogging from A to Z challenge: Engagement.

Schlumbergera truncata… The name already gives me the same feeling of dislike and indifference as the plant itself does. In Sweden it’s simply called “November cactus”. November is not one of the easiest months to get through in Sweden.

I don’t like this kind of plant very much. I never bought one myself. Still, I do have one. I hope dearly that I can keep it alive like “forever”. It is so important to me that I want to make a jewellery piece based on it, one day. Why?

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I grew up with one particular plant like this, it is known in my family as the “engagement cactus”. It is a grand-grand-grand-(and so on)-child of two stems from the mid 50’s. Here is the story:

My parents got engaged in December 1955, just before Christmas. After the engagement, they went together to visit their respective parents and new in-laws.

At the table, my father’s mother had put by their coffee cups some stems of this plant. Fresh flowers were not as available then as they are now, so this was a creative solution to decorate the table for the young couple. As a memory of that visit, the first one after their engagement, my mother kept them. She put them in water and planted them in a pot when new roots had developed.

The plant grew, and every so many years, my mother took new stems off, put them in water and planted them. She has kept the descendants of this plant alive ever since. I grew up knowing this individual plant as being the “engagement cactus”. “Did you water the engagement cactus as well?” was a crystal clear question, even for a 12 year old.

As we children left home to live on our own, we were also offered a pot with a young “engagement cactus”. I have myself taken stems off to start younger plants a number of times (and I should do it again right now, I see).

The more years that pass, the bigger the “responsibility” to keep this plant alive. Whereas I totally (totally!) ignore any such plants in the shops, mine is irreplaceable. I want it to be there “forever”, so I want to make a jewellery piece that picks up the essence of this plant.

I think of a chain of some sort. That is the way this plant grows, and that is also what a family is: a chain.

A few days ago, my parents celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. I love the way my father reflected on all this the other day, as I mentioned that I planned to write about the engagement cactus, he said it with humble gratitude: “And it worked out all fine for us. But you never know before hand if it will…”

Schlumbergera truncata… Never judge anything by its name or looks, it may be the gold you are looking for.

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3 thoughts on “Engagement

  1. So true …. the less shinny things can be the most valuable. Send my regards to your parents. My mum has been married 4 times .. and still didn’t find what she was looking for.

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