Years ago when I was eleven, my mother and I traveled to Greece to have an adventure.
I remember the white washed buildings with the blue roofs, the donkeys pulling carts, the cobblestone hills.
One morning while my mother was still sleeping, I gathered all of my American Express Travelers Cheques totaling $200 and snuck out of the hotel. Remember those? “Accepted at thousands of locations worldwide.”
How long does it take an eleven-year-old to earn $200? Dude. This was months and months of hard-earned allowance, birthday money, and Christmas money. Probably Tooth Fairy money too.
I meandered through the winding streets until I came upon the jewelry store with the strand of turquoise beads. Real turquoise. Chunky. Gorgeous. The necklace that had caught my mother’s eye the day before. The necklace with the pricey price tag.
Turquoise is derived from the Greek word “Turkois” meaning “Turkish” because it was first brought from Turkey. Turquoise is formed over millions of years by a chemical reaction that occurs when water leaks through rocks which contain specific minerals such as copper and aluminum. The percentage of the minerals in the rock dictates the shade of the turquoise.
Let me tell ya, these beads were brilliant turquoise. Must’ve been a lot of minerals. This piece was a gem. (Har har.)
My heart was beating fast. My palms were sweaty. I carefully counted out the ten Travelers Cheques–my life savings. The transaction was complete. The storekeeper wrapped the necklace in brown paper and I was on my way. “You vill not be disappointed,” he promised.
I hurried back, so excited!
The necklace was a “just because” gift for my mother. A thank you present for taking me with her on this trip.
I presented it to her–I couldn’t wait. She loved it. Of course. “That’s the most thoughtful gift,” she said.
Months later, when we were back home in the States, the necklace met it’s fate and tumbled to the hardwood floor, shattering to pieces.
The crash exposed white beads. White?? Was this a rare turquoise find?
No. It was an eleven-year-old who was swindled out of her hard-earned $200, to purchase crap white beads painted turquoise.
I was duped.
But my mother laughed and put her arm around me and told me that it was the thought that counts.
Yeah, my thought was that I was a stupid idiot.
Note: This photo is “simulated,” just like the faux turquoise beads I purchased.