Relationship: Im/migrant

This ring belonged to my great-grandmother, Marie-Antoinette Goutelle, on my maternal grandfather’s side, who lived in Chazelles-sur-Lyon, a little village in France. She was only 22 years old when she passed away in 1913, while giving birth to fraternal twins, my grandfather, Andre, and his sister, Madeleine. My great-grandfather, Benoit Lacroix, sent both children to his sisters, who basically raised them. A few years later, Andre and Madeleine were sent away to school, feeling abandoned and neglected by their own father who got remarried to a stern woman. I do remember how nervous my grandfather was getting when we, his grandchildren, would leave to summer camp, in spite of our doing it willingly and with enthusiasm. He was never able to send his own children too far without him as he could not fathom it to be fun for them! The ring was passed along to one of Marie-Antoinette’s sisters, who gave it to my mother when she was about 15 years old.  I was given the ring, the one and only ring that I wear, when I was in my twenties, and will pass it along to my daughter, Eva, who is already eyeing it with sparkles in her eyes.I was very close to my grandfather and always felt the emotional hardship he went through as a child and teenager. His love and dedication to his children and grandchildren were likely made more intense by the early death of his mother and his difficult childhood. Wearing the ring is a heavy reminder of pain and struggle but also an ethereal reminder of profound love. The ring also stands as a tangible reminder of my French past and ancestry.

Place(s): France, Chazelles-sur-Lyon
Year: 1996

– Sophie Skripnikoff

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant