Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wampum & The Real World

Sadly, I have just returned from vacation on Prudence Island, RI.  My family is blessed to have a summer cottage on Prudence and it is here that I am able to regenerate to face the world that we live in.  The stress of the real world seeps out of me on the ferry ride from Bristol and almost instantly when I step on the Island, life priorities become crystal clear.  Prudence is a welcome step back in time when the most important treasure in a person's life was probably something in human form.  There is no commercialism, no concern as to what you or anyone else is wearing, no false pride as to what type of house you live in and though there are all different grades of automobile, at the end of the day, they are all the same-covered with black dust from the nearly unpaved roads.  Life is simple and easy on Prudence and the Islanders are friendly and thankful to be there.  The biggest decision you may have in a day could easily be whether to curl up with a good book or go swimming.  Re-entry into the real world has been extremely difficult for me.

I am a government drone and my penance in this capacity is to supervise child support enforcement.  Enough said.  Unfortunately, I allowed myself no time to transition from my vacation to reality.  I arrived home in the evening after driving 16 hours and found myself sitting behind a desk early the next morning.  If meteors had feelings, I am quite sure they could easily empathize with what I felt that morning.  One moment you are happily floating around in space and the next-bam!-you are crashing into earth not knowing what hit you.  As I was sitting there with beach hair that wouldn't submit to office hair even with power tools, the expression "where the hell am I and why am I sitting in this hand basket?" readily came to mind.  I didn't think it would be appropriate to just stare ahead, laughing hysterically, so I allowed my mind to drift to treasured memories of Prudence.

The quahog is a hard-shelled clam native to Rhode Island.  These shells are prevalent along the shores of Prudence Island.

Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans made "money" from the purple section of the quahog shell.  Beads were formed and used as currency.  The value of the beads was determined by the various hues of purple in the quahog shells-the darker the purple, the more the beads were worth.  I have collected pieces of wampum for years along the shores of Prudence Island.  After vacationing on Prudence, I bring my wampum to North Carolina and place it in a special garden spot.  It is beautiful and always reminds me of how blessed I am to have time on Prudence Island.  If wampum was still a form of currency, I believe this piece would be high dollar because of the intensity of the purple-it is just about black.

Look at how much darker it is compared to other wampum I collected.

I was very surprised when I did a search for wampum on Etsy there were 183 hits.  This necklace was one of my favorite wampum finds.

You can find it at this fabulous Etsy shop Beach Inspired Jewelry

I have no idea how much my wampum collection would be worth if it was actually still used as money.


All I know is when I see it in my garden after a stressful day at work-it is absolutely priceless..........


  1. Oh boy! I know how you feel. It's close to impossible to get any vacation time where I work and the job is so stressful. I live for my weekends!

    I'll bet there are a lot of us in this same boat. I for one, know that I have to learn how to handle stress a little better.

  2. Betsy, sat on your bench this eve, watched the seagulls glide by, listened to the bouy bells clanging in the choppy water, enjoyed the fresh evening breeze after a rather warm day, and birds were singing their evening lulabys. Yes, Prudence sure is a different world from the high stress jobs I had and remember well!!! I use to say "take it one day @ a time, make difference whenever you can, smile a lot, be a friend, and always be positive".
    And, I agree that the garden is a wonderful place to relax, meld with nature, even if I don't have any "wampum" adorning my garden path!!
    Bob& Anne

  3. I enjoy your humor and I am reminded to enjoy eash day. I am a teacher on my recovery period (that is what I call the almost 8 weeks off from school) in which I run all the errands reserved for this time and dig out my house from 10 months of neglect. In this time I often feel guilt for sleeping in occassionally.

    Nature reminds us all what is really important.

  4. WOW, Prudence sounds like my kind of place! What the real world should be like (sigh). Love your humor and blog. I am also pretty new to blogging and just try to take it one post at a time. The hardest part is just finding the time and what I want to post about.
    Judy K.

  5. Prudence sounds like a magical place. I'd love to visit. For several years in a row, I took my little ones and they and I enjoyed the beach at a small beach cottage. I miss those weeks of regaining my sanity and the bonding with my little boys.

  6. shells aren't wampum there will be a lot of time sanding and polishing before that is worth anything