Once upon a time in the early 70s in a place far from here, a little boy fell under the spell of a beautiful object that held its beauty in teardrops of dangling glass.
I don't really have a first memory of it; it’s more of an awareness. I was younger than seven when it shined its way onto my radar and bedazzled me with its glittering prisms that created sparkling rainbows. I know this because when I was seven-and-a-half my grandparents moved from the "old" house into the "new" house (more than 30 years later and we still differentiate between the two houses like that). Anyway, I remember it hanging in the formal living room of the old house: a grand room full of furniture that was different from all the other furniture in the house; that room you weren't allowed to enter unless it was a special occasion like prom night or Easter morning, and you were in there to have your picture taken.
When their new house was ready for occupancy, the chandelier made the move. It was hung in the new formal living. The same furniture from the previous formal living room was arranged in the new formal living room, the aesthetic completed with white shag carpet and a window treatment that Scarlett O’Hara would have been proud to take down and have made into a dress. I was old enough to be aware of beautiful things by then and seeing the chandelier hanging in that room was when my fascination with it really took root.
I used to sneak a stroll through that room when no one was watching just so I could feel for a moment like I was transported to another place--say a room in the Carrington mansion on Dynasty or the Chancellor mansion on The Young and the Restless. I have always had a vivid imagination and that room became the setting for my fantasies when I could actually find a moment to tiptoe into it: moving nothing yet touching everything; absorbing the atmosphere. If I listen hard enough I can hear my grandmother calling my name from the den asking me what I was doing. She knew when I was being too quiet that I was in that room.
I loved to play dress up as a little boy and nothing was better than having a large "diamond" hanging from a chain around my neck. I was so excited when I got tall enough to reach the lowest hanging teardrops on the chandelier. (It ranks right up there with my feet fitting into my mother’s shoes, but that’s another story.) When I found myself in the house alone I would trespass into that room and take one of the teardrops down and hang it from a necklace that I had managed to secretly take from my grandmother’s bedroom. I remember the heart-racing fear of getting caught and the heart-pounding race against time to get that teardrop looped back into its slot when the back door opened. I remember exiting the room at the end farthest from the back door turning as I did to make sure there was no evidence that I'd been inside it at all.
That little boy who used to thrill at the stolen moments of hanging one of those teardrops around his neck grew up to be the man who couldn’t resist hanging one of those teardrops around his neck before placing it in its rightful slot in its new home.