My Mother Tina and her 12 girlfriends making a difference in the world.
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Your weekly must-have book: 'The Necklace'
Thursday, September 11th 2008, 4:00 AM
"The Necklace" could as easily have been titled "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Diamonds." Thirteen women, many of whom didn't know each other, bought a $37,000 necklace, and it made such a difference in their lives.
Actually the ringleader, Jonell Mclain, begged the Ventura, Calif., jewelry-store owner to reduce the 15-carat neck candy to $15,000. The jeweler agreed on one condition: His wife, Priscilla, must be part of the group. Jonell wasn't organizing a book club where like-minded women come together to discuss titles they agree upon. She was out trolling for 13 women willing to put out more than a grand for a piece of the rocks.
The women ranged in age from 50 to 62, some had husbands, some had lovers, some had had both. Politically they were all over the map. Not one of them was particularly interested in jewelry. Each wrote the check because she wanted to take part in the project. There were, of course, disagreements. The first took place over naming the necklace. Fortunately, the name "Julia Child" was voted down in favor of "Jewelia." And boy did J. travel, and not just in the month-to-month tradeoff from woman to woman.
Jewelia had a wonderful time in Paris, boogie-boarded in Hawaii and sky-dived with the television cameras trained on her. That upset the group, who informed the erring member that Jewelia could go anywhere but no one was to alert the media.
Still, the necklace became a local celebrity as word spread and saleswomen and hairstylists asked to try it on. It was loaned out to brides, and that caused arguments (should it only be worn by members' daughters?) and fronted fund-raisers, which brought more discussion about which causes were worthy.
But mostly Jewelia brought 13 women, and an extended circle beyond the original, together in an unexpected way. They battled and bonded, but more than that, everyone had something new in her life. Something sparkly - new friendships. Oh, and the necklace, too.