My Mamacita gave me my first set of pearls. She also gave me my first clutch purse, when I was too young and tomboyish to know what to do with it. She gave me a gold owl pendant necklace that would be very vintage today, and a set of miniature perfume bottles that I absolutely adored even though I really couldn't wear perfume without it tickling my nose.
I kept everything.
My Panamanian Mamacita, my dad's mother, was a lady. She always encouraged me to stand up straight. Her hair was always done, her jewelry on, her clothes put together. I quite admired her gentility, even if my tomboy self didn't always understand it. She was gracious (even when expressing an opinion that was less than gracious). She was nice. In a world where people don't always bother to be nice anymore.
She passed away recently. She was 96.
I feel like a hole has appeared in our family history with her passing. She didn't recognize me the last time I saw her, at a cousin's wedding a few years ago. She danced at that wedding more than I did. I doubt she would have recognized me if I had seen her more often, but I deeply regret that I did not make the opportunity to see her.
It's funny how much I enjoy pearls and purses now.