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11/19/2010

This Ring…This Thing

This week’s featured story rings true for Carla from Philadelphia. Carla participated in a First Person Arts StoryCircle presented in partnership with Art Sanctuary and the 26 Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival. Out of that Storytelling Event sprung Carla’s powerful cautionary tale and poem about a wedding band, which she keeps off her finger and in a box she calls a casket. Carla’s ring never made it to Ebay as suggested. Instead, it made both its online and museum debuts at firstpersonmuseum.org!

Carla’s wedding band is also on display at the live First Person Museum exhibit at the Painted Bride Art Center (230 Vine St.) Come see Carla’s story and wedding band in person at the First Person Museum pilot exhibition going on now through December 18. Join us for the December First Friday Reception December 3 from 5-7PM in the gallery.

Theme: Cautionary Tale
Object Type: Always By My Side

This is the wedding band that I purchased in the summer of 2005.
I had planned to marry a man (against my better judgment) and in order to prove that I was serious about the marriage, I bought the bands. One for him and one for me. They were inexpensive and generic. I purchased them at a popular jewelry store in Cherry Hill Mall. I remember taking them back to the store as I grew more hesitant about the marriage and they told me that I had held on to them for too long and I should try putting them on EBay! The wedding day came and the rings were blessed, exchanged, and placed on the appropriate fingers. As the marriage progressed, I knew it would not last despite our efforts in counseling. I moved out after three years and when I finally moved into my new home, I removed the ring at last. It was the final symbol of the failing marriage. Now, the box in which it rests is its coffin.

The following poem emerged from me in the midst of unconscious grief released in a workshop at the Art Sanctuary 26th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival. I do not know if it would have emerged in this state if I had not signed up for the Object and Memoir workshop.

This Thing… This Ring
By Carla A. Jones

This thing. This ring. With this ring, I thee wed.
Now this ring rests next to the bed…
In a box…in its final resting place.
The ring, the thing in the box by the bed…is dead.

The circle symbolized a love unbroken.
The minister asked God to bless this small token.
I never dreamed it would turn into a story by Tolkien.
The vows, the promises all shattered and broken.

This ring that I bought…I want my money back.
The marriage a sham. The dress should have been black.
You know, black and blue like the ones to me from you?
This thing. This ring.

Yes with this ring, I thee did wed.
Because you believed in the ring, I almost ended up dead.
D**n this ring and those vows because Lord knows I tried.
D**n this ring and those vows for the nights that I cried.

A band of white gold…fingers in a stranglehold.
My world will now unfold…
My story will be told…
In weddings, vows and God, I do still believe…

But from this ring from this thing…
I’ve found my reprieve…

See Carla’s official entry.

Feeling inspired by Carla’s story? Upload your own to the First Person Museum Online Gallery along with media including a photo of you, a photo of your object and even video! Choose from story themes like “Cautionary Tale” and object types like “Always By My Side.” Share your story with friends through social media like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. Who knows? Next week’s Featured story could be YOURS!

-Becca Jennings

Upcoming Events
  • StorySlam: Overdoing it at Fringe Arts (Tickets on sale Dec. 3)
  • Date: December 18, 2018
  • Time: 8 PM
  • Venue: FringeArts
  • Location: 140 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106