Monday, September 28, 2009

At a family gathering over the weekend, my dear youngest uncle
surprised me by pulling this string of seven metal fish charms from
his pocket. They were given as Sunday School rewards for
attendance and scripture memorization in our little Indiana church
back in the 1950's. I have such fond memories of catching these fish
on my trusty pencil and string pole in the pond behind the green
vinyl rocker. His sweet gesture brought tears to my eyes.

They immediately conjured thoughts of the biblical story of the loaves
and the fishes, and the creative power they represent. The parable
isn't just about the physicality of feeding the multitude with material
food, but about spiritual advancement, as well.

Through the centuries, the symbol of the fish has come to represent
Christianity, but for me, these charms bring thoughts of love,
creativity, new ideas and the exciting possibility of increase. I
couldn't think of a more appropriate gift, since autumn is my season
of renewal.

62 comments:

  1. cool gift. love those gifts that bring back sweet memories, that also help us to look toward the future. enjoy the season of renewal willow.

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  2. What fun for you Willow. Those little fish are very cool.

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  3. It is funny how little things can move us and become valuable just because of what they represent. My mother has a cookbook that has hand written recipes from my grandmother and her mother and her deceased aunts. She cherishes it like a Bible. to most other people it would just be a messy, disorganized pile of papers.

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  4. A lovely post Willow. And you do exactly what I often ask people in my memoir classes to do: explore symbolic images for an understanding of what they mean to them as individuals. Symbols are a rich source of inspiration, aren't they? I find it amazing that if we take the time to explore what they mean on a universal level, we often identify with them in the same way - often subconsciously.

    But if we go further and seek to understand what they mean to us on a personal level, they can add a richness to our perspectives and our art.

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  5. what a sweet and meaningful gesture.

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  6. i like the thought of fish as increase. may your season of renewal bring lots of love, creativity, new ideas and increase.

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  7. That's a very neat gift, Willow. Ta for sharing.

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  8. It's wonderful to think how they will move you to travel in your thoughts and words. A special gift indeed.

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  9. Beautiful gift, beautifully photographed

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  10. What a lovely memory to be reawakened by such a thoughtful gift. You must have a remarkable family. Lovely photograph.

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  11. What a lovely, thoughtful gift. I can just see the little girl playing 'fishing' in the lounge room all those years ago - and he remembered it.

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  12. I bet they go well with the rest of your 'finds' at the Manor. When they bring back strong memories, they have earned a place on the wall or ...

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  13. What a kind and thoughtful uncle to think of you and share these fish that hold such sweet memories. Tonight is our holiest night of the year...Kol Nidre. The music and prayers open hearts.
    Happy autumn days ahead.

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  14. Blessings to you and yours on this Kol Nidre, Mary Ann!

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  15. Those little fish are wonderful! We had to make ours out of construction paper at church and they didn't last. This is like a good health wish or prayer for your family and also a wish that the Manor will always have enough food for everyone who visits. Brothers are so neat! =D

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  16. You say such a lot with these three paragraphs. Good food for thought for a late Sunday evening.

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  17. It was a very sweet gift! :)

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  18. they're lovely.. and your uncle is a sweetheart to remember & treat you to such treasures. [if you need a lovely necklace to wear them on, let me know and i'd be happy to make you something!]

    have a wonderful week!

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  19. I love the fish and the feelings they bring up. I have a little bracelet from 4 or 5 years old from Sunday School. It was the ten commandments (one each charm) sweet times.

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  20. our fishing games had exquisitely drawn fish [lovingly made by my mother] that had paperclips attached to their wee nosies. or whatever it is that fishes have.

    we fished for them with a small magnet on a piece of string

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  21. Nice post. I enjoyed the fishes. I did three fishes once and sent it to Howard in Victoria and he immediately recognized it as a trinity symbol. I gave it to him and have never been able to reproduce it again.

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  22. What a beautiful and original post. Your photos are lovely, too! I'm so glad to have found your blog.

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  23. How thoughtful of your uncle to remember you in this way.

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  24. hi willow, the gift is so sweet! i love fish - their shape, their symbolism across all cultures. this memory though - so ripe and filled!!!!! have a lovely evening fillign and filling your glass! steven

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  25. Your story is beautiful and does remind us how often some small treasure evokes the most wonderful, cherished memories. It is nice that the gift comes from a man! My three sons ( young adults ) sometimes chastise me about saving things, not realizing how truly important some of them are to my heart.

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  26. Isn't it wonderful that he remembered you loved them.

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  27. Now those are silverfish that anyone would love to have.

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  28. Willow,

    This was a gift you could really hold close to your heart. Happy Season of renewal.

    Marjorie

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  29. Lovely little mementos --and what an interesting provenance.

    "I shall make you fishers of men..."

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  30. love memories like this - brought tears to my eyes too

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  31. Such a wonderful memory-filled gesture, Willlow! It truly is the little things that are most important to us, for what they can contain...

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  32. That is too sweet, Willow. I wish someone would surprise me with a childhood memory I could touch.

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  33. Thank you for sharing your special gift and the meaning behind the fish for you. Autumn as a season of renewal...I have to say that like that positive thought.

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  34. Fabulous little fishies Willow! Although your mention of Sunday School sent me into a spin, I was a total SS failure. Spent all the time looking out the window thinking of where else I could be. So those 10 Commando thingies aren't locked in my head like they probably should be.
    Millie ^_^

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  35. Hi Willow

    I think the 'cast your bread upon the waters' saying is about much more than nourishment...

    Happy days

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  36. AWWWW.....
    i love that you are so tender and sentimental.(me too)

    you are the best!

    xx

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  37. They would be adorable on a tiny Christmas tree!

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  38. what a fantastic surprise and conjuring to be transported back to such a wonderful memory...i love the Fall and miss the turning of the seasons...it has also always been my time of renewal, my favorite time of year.

    much love

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  39. Beautiful memento. And how many sweet memories it must have brought!

    Greetings from London.

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  40. They are just lovely Willow....xv

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  41. Such symbols from the past can catch you unawares and recreate times past in the present.

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  42. Beautiful photo and sentiments. What a thoughtful uncle you have. And I agree totally with your feelings about autumn. I, too, am a Libra and fall is the season that fills me with joy. When the air cools and the leaves begin to turn I come alive again. Though I have never quite thought about it in terms of renewal, that's really what it is. Thanks for the new perspective.

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  43. They are beautiful! What a touching gift.

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  44. jenmorrison hit the proverbial nail on the head about what symbols mean to us individually. Wonderful post Willow!

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  45. I am reminded by this post of the Chinese Proverb:

    " give a man a fish and you feed him for one day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"

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  46. Wise words, indeed. I love that, Carol.

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  47. Aren;t they lovely willow - what a splendid idea to give them as rewards at church.

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  48. I love those charms Willow, and your words.
    Beautiful.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  49. Memories are made of this. One sweet gesture and it all comes flooding back.

    I totally agree with your summation of the loaves and fishes.

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  50. How interesting, I have never seen fish charms like that!

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  51. What a well written post. Very apropos and a nice sentiment. Good photos too.

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  52. Right, when's dinner? It sounds divine (sidebar).

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  53. How clever! I wish I had thought of that when I taught Sunday School! And I too am from Indiana.

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  54. I really like them!They are really nice!

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  55. Love those fish--that was a touching gift, wasn't it!? Thanks for sharing this with us, Willow.

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  56. Yes, beautifully said, willow. I, too, think that those little fish symbolize and bring out a joyfulness that inspires innocence, vitality, and abundance.
    Btw. I left a bowl of acorns over at OasisWL blog for your little breakfast buddies!

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  57. Aww, thanks, Cynthia. I'm popping over to take a peek...

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  58. I've just caught up on your blog and as always enjoyed myself. Feel to rotten to write more....dreaded lurgy..

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  59. This post is wonderful, and being from Indiana myself, I love it all the more. It took me a long time to see the beauty of this landscape, but it is there, and know I see it so much.

    I love the story and the gift is such a treasure too.

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  60. Lovely gift with memories attached.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)