Our neighbor Ilsa died last fall. She was a beautiful and enigmatic woman. She was born in a country that no longer exists, fled communism as a young woman but still somehow managed to sneak past the iron curtain to visit family, and came to Canada on her own. She helped me practice my German. She died last year and I miss her.

On the weekend, her husband John brought Ilsa’s jewelry box to see if we wanted anything (his daughter-in-laws and granddaughters had already chosen their favourites). I picked out a broken bypass ring because I am drawn to things that need fixing.

Fortunately I keep a stash of loose pearls lying about and was able to reset it within minutes (I also picked out a few other pieces like the Viking ship and the necklaces and brooches pictured up top). I’m honoured to be part of Ilsa’s story.