Let me set the stage.
Winston and I became engaged in 1971. Very eager to get on with the major jewelry purchase but also very poor.
We visited a lovely store in downtown Houston called Sweeney's. Decided that a plain narrow gold setting would be perfect. Decided that a third carat diamond was more then enough. Round "brilliant" cut. Gorgeous!!!
Let the nice salesman know that we were going to have to put it on "layaway". Winston made a down payment. Nice man wrapped the diamond in a bit of tissue and deposited ring and stone in a small brown envelope.
Now going downtown was one of my favorite activities in life. Often my mother and I would spend the day going in and out of stores and shops, have lunch in the L&C Cafeteria.
And visit my ring.
That's right. We'd go in, ask the nice patient man to bring forth the little envelope. He would remove the stone from the tissue wrapping and using a tweezer apparatus, place it right within the prongs so that I could admire its gorgeous-ness yet again. He never seemed to mind at all.
One afternoon with my mother as usual I asked what a pear-shaped diamond looked like. I had heard of such a thing and couldn't imagine what it would be like. So, nice man smiled, nodded, and removed a ring from the case. He smiled as I placed it on my finger and got busy with a customer who might actually be making a bona fide no-delay purchase. I decided that although this stone was certainly huge, it in no way was as pretty as mine.
A good-bye wave to the nice man and Mother and I went across the street to Foley's department store to do a little more not-buying looking.
Everything was fine and usual until I looked down at my left hand.
You guessed it.
"Mama! Oh my GOSH!!! I forgot to take the ring off!"
I began to shiver with fright.
"He'll think I stole it!"
Mother, calm as I'd ever seen her (and I hadn't seen her calm very many times), directed that we should just return to the store and all would be well. So off we speed-walked across the street just in time to see the little dark blue curtains on the little display windows being pulled shut with a flourish. One by one. It was closing time!
I knocked on the door. No response. Again. No response. Finally nice man, looking a bit distracted, came forth behind the glass of the door and signaled with his watch that it was too late to pay another visit to my ring.
You can imagine the expression on his nice man face when I held up my hand and pointed to the huge sparkler on it!
Quick as a wink he opened the door just wide enough to take the item and the accidental heist was over!