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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

From Readers: Jewel Transformation


Reader Roxayn submitted a jewelry story, and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it. I always love hearing from readers, so if you have a jewelry story of your own, send it in!! Remember that you get a free book if yours gets selected for the blog.

I remember as a young, almost teenager wearing rings, bracelets, necklaces adorned with turquoise.  I loved it.  And then I didn't.  I hid them away in a corner of a jewelry box embarrassed by my passion for turquoise.  I switched to all things sparkling and gold. Fast forward a few decades through dozens of glittering earrings, jeweled necklaces, and bangled bracelets.  Imagine my distress when I realized my cute, darling daughter's birthstone was not glittery or faceted as her name, Jewel, would suggest.  My Jewel had a birthstone of turquoise.  It didn't sparkle like her princess tiaras or her glitter splashed tutus.  Flat, lumpy turquoise seemed to be such a misfit among the other jeweled celebrations of birth—and totally inadequate to celebrate my Jewel.  I said as little as possible about birthstones.

I love to make jewelry.  I found a necklace I really wanted to make—and Jewel, now a tween, asked if she could make one too.  We went on a shopping excursion to find just the right beads.  As we gazed at the variety of sparkling, dazzling beads, I wondered how she would choose which pink ones to use.  "Momma, don't you just love these?"  As I turned to see her selection, shock hit.  You can guess what she chose—turquoise beads.  "Yes," I said, trying to hide my surprise.  "They will look so pretty, and did you know that turquoise is my birthstone?" she asked. I did know. And as we chatted and laughed all through the creative process, I came to know—through her eyes—just how beautiful turquoise can be.  She loved it because it was her birthstone, and for me, it became beautiful in her hands.



Lizzie's School Story


In sixth grade we had a Phantom of the Opera section where we all read the book and then went to see the play. I remember vividly as my teacher read the last chapter to us out loud. She was crying.

This moment showed me how to let books affect me, and that it's great when they do. I cry all the time when I read books now, and I've never felt weird about that.


Kristen's School Story

calculus.pngMy high school calculus teacher nicknamed me “Bonehead”. Consider it a term of endearment. I never liked math, and over the course of my pre-collegiate life it was simply effort, if not dumb luck, that I did my homework and managed to do better than many of my fellow students. But calculus. In calculus I’d met my match. I spent many class periods looking at the tabletop and thinking it would be more productive to bang my head against it.

The day of the AP exam, I was nauseous. Boneheaded me was certain I would fail miserably, but my teacher had great faith. He’d taken me to a math competition at Stanford earlier in the year, he’d organized ‘Calculus Camp’ for those of us taking the exam, and he’d generously spent hours with me after school running through problems again and again. Sometimes until after 8:00pm. No teacher before or since had ever invested so much time into truly helping me learn.

He phoned me on the day my results should have arrived, stayed on the phone as I walked out to the mailbox to discover the results letter waiting, and patiently waited as I opened it and found I’d scored a single point lower than hoped. I have had many great teachers, but the one who sat with me through hours of frustration to guide me and help me understand taught me much more than how to solve an equation. For that I’m grateful to be a Bonehead.