"Necessary for Keeping the Beads in Place"
[Saturday, May 16, 2015]
Some of the kids around
the Island Resort Neighborhood
were getting squirrelly about Turq
and Nebuly and the other survivors
after the news broke about
the Umsetzung Complex.
So Janie bought a bowl
of hand-carved bone beads,
Ansel bought several hanks of
colorful waxed cotton cord, and
Turq bought assorted fasteners.
They set up on a picnic table
beside the big playground.
Eileen Mersinger showed up
with most of her kids -- Jerica,
Kemi, Yulia, and Corbin.
"Mom told me we'd do beads
so I brought some ceramic ones,"
Jerica said, setting down a bowl
of beads in many colors and shapes.
"Thank you, Jerica, that was
very thoughtful," Ansel said.
"No Bray today?" Janie asked.
Eileen shook her head. "He
doesn't like conflict, and this
was a little too much for him,"
she said. "Gifford took him
out swimming instead."
"Maybe another day,"
Turq said diplomatically.
"The girls are all excited about
making necklaces," Eileen said.
"Corbin wanted to come, because he
likes quiet activities, but I don't know
if he can handle small beads."
"He's five, that's plenty old enough,"
Janie said. "We got some chunky beads,
and the cord is pretty thick, because
the Cassady kids are younger."
"It's worth a try," Eileen said.
"Corbin, pick out a cord color
and a handful of beads. I can
help you with tying the knots."
Parker and Rosewood Cassady
showed up then, with their daughters
Savannah and Meadow in tow.
"Okay, here's the plan,"
Rosewood said as she led
Savannah to the table. "String
one bead, put down the necklace,
run to the playground and back,
then put on the next bead."
"I can do that!" Savannah said.
"Here, put your beads in a bowl
so everyone knows they're yours,"
Ansel said, passing Savannah
one of the small bowls which
they had brought for that purpose.
"Let's find the biggest beads,"
Parker said as he sat down with
their younger daughter. Meadow was
barely two, but she was laid-back
and not much bothered by Turq
or anyone else for that matter.
Janie helped them sort through
the bowls for the biggest beads.
Kemi liked the bone beads,
but struggled to tie the knots.
"Want me to give you a hand
with that?" Turq offered.
She hesitated. Kemi was
shy, and the recent buzz in
the news made her nervous.
Eventually she pushed
her necklace toward him.
"Okay, I'm going to tie one knot
with my fingers and one with tweezers,"
Turq said. "Some people find it easier
one way and some other, so you
should try doing it each way."
Kemi had chosen mostly white bone
that would stand out against her dark skin,
but there were a few verdigris ceramic
and the cord was bright yellow.
She watched as Turq made the knots,
then handed back the necklace.
"Thanks," she whispered.
"You're welcome," Turq said.
"Ask if you need more help."
Savannah and Yulia got into
a game of tag, so Ansel went
to keep an eye on that.
Despite their small fingers,
Corbin and Meadow did well
stringing one bead at a time, but
needed an adult to tie the knots.
Yulia came back and plopped herself
at the table. "Look, Turq, these ones
are the same color as your hair!"
she said artlessly, holding out
a handful of turquoise beads.
"Yeah, they are," Turq said.
"White cord would set them off."
"Creepy," Kemi said, and
ran toward the playground.
"Some things take
time getting used to,"
Ansel said diplomatically.
"I think those beads will
look very good on you."
There weren't any pink ones,
but he had found purplish ceramic
to go with the white bone beads.
Janie was stringing black, brown,
and white beads on a brown cord
to create an all-natural effect.
"It can be hard to deal with
the bad things that happen,"
Jerica said. "But that's how
we found our family, and
I like the way we are now."
"Yeah," Turq said with a smile.
"That's how I found my family too."
"Families happen in all kinds
of ways," Rosewood said.
Parker snorted. "Yeah,
ours started in the back
of a pickup truck."
Kemi had drifted
back to the picnic table.
"I like how the dark beads
have notches to show
the white," she said.
"So do I," said Eileen.
"They show how we can
survive what life throws at us,
even if we might have some scars.
Why don't you choose some of these
to go with your white bone beads?"
"Okay," Kemi said, picking a few.
"That's what gave us the idea for
this activity," Ansel said. "I remember
my grandmother doing a workshop on
beading for veterans. She talked about
how our memories tie everything together.
The painful things seemed like knots
on a beautiful necklace, necessary
for keeping the beads in place."
"I never thought about it
like that," Kemi said quietly.
"Me neither," Turq said,
"but I think I like it."
His long fingers worked
patiently at the cord, tying
a knot between each pair
of the blue ceramic beads.
Yeah, this workshop was a success.
* * *
"The painful things seemed like knots on a beautiful necklace, necessary for keeping the beads in place."
-- Anita Diament
See Janie's bone beads, Ansel's beading cord, Turq's jewelry fasteners, and Jerica's ceramic beads.
Beading a necklace can be done with various types of cord. Knotting a necklace may be done with tweezers (see closeup photos). Variations include double-strand and sliding-knot necklaces. In any case, knotting improves safety because if the necklace breaks, only 1-2 beads can escape.