An Emerald Ring Continued

My husband is off to our jeweler on Monday to pick out a slightly smaller emerald for my vintage/antique 1920’s/30’s (Art Deco) white gold setting. Smaller than the loose emerald I have. The jeweler is just waiting for the emeralds to arrive for my husband to choose from. I’m looking forward to seeing whatever my husband decides on since the ring should be finished in about a week. If they do a good job with this ring (I fully expect they will as they always have in the past), we’ll likely use them for the other.

The Lillian Hellman book (actually a collection of three books) is over 700 pages so I’ve decided to post about just that first, since I’ve finished it, before finishing Hitler’s Generals.

It is astoundingly good. Like fresh air. Hope.

Reading Hellman’s words about her experiences was like a hug from Heaven or the nurturing presence of a parent as you recall them being in youth. Clarity. Truth. Wisdom. I’m at a loss to describe it well, but I plan to look for more work like An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir as I can tell that my soul is longing for its literary companions.

No, it isn’t a short read, but it’s so enjoyable. Remember how deeply intelligent and cathartic and cerebrally comforting Woody Allen films used to be before “Me Too”? (I still watch them) Well, imagine that sort of shredding honesty and insight (beauty) from the eyes of one of the most brilliant playwrights in history, who also happens to be female. As the forward says, Lillian Hellman manages to describe in a few sentences what some authors can’t get around to in a whole book. Her descriptions of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and her family, Hammett and other friends at home and abroad are profoundly aware. In just a few paragraphs here and there she genuinely describes them.

But Hellman was a gift. Truly. If you need a vacation from 2019 find an old copy of An Unfinished Woman, sit in a tub with Epsom salt, drink chilled lemon water, put on old jazz and enjoy. And hey, if it makes you feel like crying for the past, all the better…

Soon I’ll write a quick bit about the other book… Intriguingly, as Hellman writes so eloquently about World War II, her book seemed particularly appropriate paired with the other one. And of course, it prompted more thoughts on the topic.

Here goes:

…My great grandmother’s family back in Norway were very actively involved in the resistance during WWII. Her sister, a teacher, was a spy and eventually had to flee to England to escape the Nazis (who occupied Norway) as they had discovered her.

And, of course, there were two heavily decorated American fighter pilots (great uncles), and other brave soldiers among my family in that war too. However, my mother’s father had something wrong with his legs or feet (?) that prevented him from being a soldier, and my paternal grandfather, who was a foreman at a Naval shipyard in San Francisco (where they made the huge ships for the Navy), actually didn’t go overseas as well.

But, my maternal grandmother sacrificed an incredible amount. She lost her absolute true love (and first love) in Pearl Harbor, as he was in the Navy on a ship when it was bombed. When my grandmother died (many decades later) we found the ring he had given her (about 70 years earlier) hidden in her pocket. She’d be over 100 years old now…

Anyway, I’m off to read more about Nazis.

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