Monday, February 12, 2007

The Ankle Bracelet

Twenty nine years ago today my husband and I got together. If you want to read about it, you can here and here in previous posts. I was only sixteen at the time and he was almost eighteen. Even though many people in our church heard the story about how we got together, my husband thought it would be a cool idea for us to tell it together before his sermon. It was fun and I love making people laugh.

Growing up in Brooklyn there was a traditional gift that was given to show you were going steady – the ankle bracelet. It usually had two hearts and two leaves with your name and your boyfriend’s name on it. If you had a good boyfriend the double heart had a little diamond chip in it. As you can see in the picture above mine had five diamond chips. He saved a long time to pay for it. One more piece of trivia about the ankle bracelet - you didn’t wear this around your ankle. You added another chain to it and wore it around your neck so that everyone could see it. I found that outside of Brooklyn no one did this. If you ever did, let me know but I’m thinking it’s a Brooklyn thing.

Thank you honey for loving me for the past twenty nine years and always remember I’ll remain forever yours, Nadine.

© Nadine Z. 2007

UPDATE: For those of you who have found this post and are interested in getting an ankle bracelet like the one pictured above, click here:

69 comments:

Don C. said...

Nadine, I can promise you that the ankle bracelet thing was never done in my town. It must be a Brooklyn thing, cuz who else wears ankle stuff around their necks?

By the way...5 chips...our boy did good. Tom, you're a great role model...but I wonder how many chips it'll take to make you play nice with the boy/man who catches your daughter's eye! :)

The Martin's said...

I can say, I have never heard of that tradition, but I love it. And I love that you still have the bracelet or necklace. Amazing how one piece of jewlry can represent so much to us women. Keep it coming guys!

Trina said...

That is such a neat tradition! I love it!! Thank you for sharing the history and tradition, along with that picture. That must be a Brooklyn tradition for sure.

I can't think of anything more sentimental and special. Happy 29 years, that is AWESOME!

marykathryn said...

Wow..congratulations on such a wonderful marriage. I love the little piece of history and tradition that comes with that sweet anklet...Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend with many sweet memories made and remembered. Way to kick start a new week!!

Nicole said...

WOW. I have never heard of the ankle bracelet meaning going steady. That is so interesting and so special. It is beautiful. Sounds like you have a keeper!

Lala's world said...

we used to give id bracelets! but I love anklets and would have liked that more! congrats on so many years together! it is a great example for others!

Yokooso said...

Happy 29th Anniversary!!! And that is so neat, that is to have a *special* necklace created together. I actually never heard of that happening before, so it was especially neat to hear.

KarenW said...

I am from the south and I've never heard of that. But what a sweet memory!

Shionge said...

Nadine, you & Tom are certainly my role model and as I browse through your previous post, I could feel the love exuding within.....

Good! This is a 'contagious' site and I love every bit of it and through it all, I've learned to love my hubby more too.

Thank you for sharing this ankle bracelet with me :D

Elle*Bee said...

Never heard the steady ankle bracelet worn around the neck tradition here in southern Louisiana. It's a beauty. Do you still wear it (around the ankle now?)?

Promise rings w/ a single diamond chip were big when I was growing up.

29 years! Happy Anniversary!

a woman who is said...

The ankle bracelet is just lovely. You should wear it more often. Tell me more about The Keg. We will be in Seattle this weekend, and Danny has bought tickets to the Pacific Northwest Garden Show. Now I will be doing the Nadine twenty yard dash too! Probably not in high heels though, maybe my Crocks.

palmtreefanatic said...

wow! congrats!
you are a lovely couple! lovely anklet!

Kim's Life said...

That is a fantastic thing to do. I love the photo. Thank you for coming to my Blog. You are welcome any time.

Kim said...

Happy (belated) anniversary! I love the anklet/necklace! It must be a Brooklyn thing, we wore our anklets around our ankles in Kentucky...call us crazy! I love stories like that. May God give you many more happy years!

Tracey said...

Awww... That is so sweet! And we didn't do the ankle bracelet in Illinois, but we did wear his class ring on a chain around our necks or with a LOT of angora yarn wrapped around it on our finger. Not too comfortable.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

skidmarksontheside said...

I love you both dearly, and no matter how many times I have heard the story of your meeting I still always HOWL with laughter...

Congrats and keep up the good work!

la bellina mammina said...

What a lovely story! In Italy (at leat in Piedmont, where my (late) husband's family lives in ) when you give birth to your first child, your husband gives you a pearl necklace.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I found the photo of your ankle bracelet while searching for this long-lost custom. I grew up in Queens in the 60s and 70s, and it was not only in Brooklyn. Maybe it's a NYC thing. Anyway, blessings on your long-lasting love. I always wanted one...I wonder if there are any jewelry stores that make or carry these anymore. Treasure it!

kathy on LI said...

Funny, but today my friend at work is wearing one of those anklets around her neck. They were popular when I was in high school (I grew up on Long Island, NY), although I didnt have a boyfriend then so i never had one. Now, finding myself single after being unhappily married for 18 years, and dating a wonderful man that I met at church, I see my friend Lois' anklet and decided I'd like one now. Of course she thinks I'm acting like a kid, because it is an old fashioned thing to do, but i guess that's what my new love makes me do - feel like a kid again! I love anklets and would wear it around my ankle, not as a necklace. We were combing the internet trying to find someplace that sold them and came across a website "www.jewelelegance.com" and they have them! I'm going to have to tell Bob all about it. Thanks for sharing your great story!

Anonymous said...

I was just telling my 20 year old daughter the story of the ankle bracelet an thought I would go on line to see if I could find what it looked like to show her and her boyfriend. I couldn't believe when I found this picture with your story. It was such a wonderful time, wasen't it. Thanks for sharing your story we loved it.

Jemima said...

OH MY!!! I am so excited to find this story! I grew up in Brooklyn and there was nothing more coveted than an ankle bracelet. I got my first for my 18th birthday from my boyfriend of only a month and a half then. Eventually I got one from my husband before we were marrried. Unfortunately, hard financial times befell us and I sold both of them. One of my biggest regrets. I so wish I could show them to my daughters. I am going to check out the site someone listed to see if I can find one again.

I wish this tradition would kick back up, and elsewhere, because they were beautiful and meaningful.

Congrats on your long-term marriage! And thanks for posting about ankle bracelets.

Pass the Kleenex, please!

Anonymous said...

Ankle Bracelets maybe a New York, east coast thing. I grew up in Queens and went to High School in The Bronx and ankle bracelets were the thing to have. You describe it perfectly.

Oma Nan said...

I'm an old gray granny of 65 years and just bought myself an ankle bracelet from QVC. At my age getting an ankle bracelet from a beau -- well as they say in Brooklyn: "Fugetaboudit!" Not at all put off by tradition, I bought one for myself because I have always loved me truly.

I have a question though... On which ankle is a single woman supposed to wear her ankle bracelet. I'm guessing if the ankle bracelet was a gift from a boyfriend, it would be worn on the left ankle much as a wedding ring is worn on the left hand. By process of elimination -- easy enough with only one ankle left to question -- I'm guessing wearing the bracelet on the right ankle means you are ''available.''

Well, I'm old and gray and overweight, but I'm available and not quite dead yet.

I hope someone will let me know which is the appropriate and traditional ankle upon which to wear an ankle bracelet for a woman of my availability.

Thanks a bunch!

Oma Nan

Nadine said...

Oma Nan:

Thank you for your lovely comment. In answer to your question, I'm not quite sure. In Brooklyn, we wore our ankle bracelets around our necks connected to another chain. It symbolized that we were going steady.

Your reasoning is logical and I guess the right ankle would be a good choice.

Julie B. said...

Nadine, terrific story! I'm about your age & grew up in Queens. I was telling my 12-year old daughter about them & wondered how far back they go. My Aunt had one
in the late 60's, but does anyone
remember them in the 50's?

Chappyswife said...

Nadine, this is so incredible. I had not read this post of yours before. It is so wonderful that you still have yours from the love of your life! What a treasure.

I also enjoyed reading all of the comments. I have never heard of this tradition.

Here girls always wore their boyfriends class rings and letter jackets/FFA jackets, etc., but I think that is a very common thing, isn't it?

I like this because it is so original. Do they still do this?

Anonymous said...

Back in the 70's, on Long Island, we wore our ankle braclets around our necks too.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I couldn't believe it when I saw the picture of the infamous ankle bracelet. I have an ankle bracelet just like yours with the diamonds and names on it. (I had forgotten about it, but I still have it, too.) I also wore it around my neck. It was also a Staten Island thing. When I came upon your story, it brought me back to 1978--my first boyfriend. Thanks for taking me back to such a great memory.

Anthony D said...

Dear Nadine,
Thank you so much for bringing back such a wonderful memory,it was a brooklyn thing ,flatbush for us, i could not wait to give this bracelet with rubys and diamonds to my girlfriend,it meant she was mine and only mine as long as she wore it around her neck. This special girl was not the prettiest girl in the neighborhood, and she did'nt have many boyfriends, but i liked her, we started dating in 76 and dated for 9 years and she became the most beautiful girl in the world and she still is. And she still is mine.Many, many thanks to you and Congrats

Anonymous said...

Wow! You've brought back so many memories! I grew up in Queens, NY and started dating my (now ex husband) in 1981. The one and only thing I ever wanted was one of those ankle bracelets and when I finally got it, I wore it around my neck every single day while we were dating. I even wore it the day I married him and for the 13 years we were married. Even though we are now divorced and I re-married a WONDERFUL loving, perfect man.... the only piece of jewelry I kept that my ex bought me was that ankle bracelet. I take it out every once in a while and think about my life with him. Sometimes I cry, but mostly, I remember how special those days were. My current husband doesn't understand why I keep it, but I need to hold onto it just because of how special it was all those years ago.

Thank you for bringing back those memories for me and my bracelet was IDENTICAL to yours! I guess now I'll grab it and hold onto it and remember all the good that happened while that bracelet was around my neck.

Much love to you and your beloved husband! I envy your happiness and love and hope you ALWAYS have that with eachother!

Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Nadine...I grew up on Long Island & in high school in the 70's , it was the most coveted gift to get from your boyfriend, and yes we wore them around our necks !! My long term boyfriend gave me one and I always regret getting rid of it when we broke up.I would wear it today...when I saw that picture,it brought me back to 1977 and some of the most romantic times of my life!!
Would buy one if I could find one too !!!.....

Anonymous said...

Hi Nadine, Congrats to your beautiful love story. I grew up in queens and the ankle bracelet thing was extremely popular. In fact, the reason I stumbled on your page is because my son was asking what he should get his g/f for Christmas and I suggested the ankle chain. Of course he had no clue what I was talking about, so I was searching the web trying to find a picture of it to show him and there was your story and the ankle chain pic. Who knows, maybe he will start a trend again...by the way, we now live on Long Island, NY..... Thanks again for the picture and your romantic story......

Anonymous said...

Not even sure how I stumbled upon here (great site, BTW) but I was looking up info about the ankle bracelet trend from the 70s, which you described so perfectly. I grew up in Yonkers, NY and this was THE thing when a guy and girl were a serious item. And yes, it was customary to wear your ankle bracelet around your neck (with an attaching chain). No two bracelets were alike, although the standard two hearts and 'side wings' seemed to be the typical style.

Interestingly, my first serious BF did start saving for one for me (we went to the jeweler's together so I could pick out the one I wanted), but we had broken up before it was mine. (Luckily, the jeweler didn't engrave it or anything.) And I never got one from subsequent BFs (I did get lots of other nice jewelry, however!), but thought it'd be nice for DH to get me one...we've been married 16 years, but come October it'll be 20 years since we've met.

Sue C said...

I also found this while searching for an "old fashioned ankle bracelet". I did grow up in Brooklyn and my sister (9 years older) had one from her boyfriend and I also had one from my first boyfriend around 1985. I thought it would be cute to get one now and have mine and my Husbands names on it, but this time I would wear it around my ankle. Maybe we can start the tradition again with our children!

Pam said...

Hi Nadine, I too up in Ridgewood, Queens and received an ankle bracelet from my boyfriend. We were married but unfortunately going through a divorce, but that's beside the point. I was at Tri-County Flea market today and found one!, can't remember the booth for those of you who know Tri-County Flea market in in Levittown, NY, I reunited with my first boyfriend and I was just browsing and asked if they still existed. I was talking to a girl who must have been no more than 20 years old so I was not sure if she would know what I was talking about. It was plain and no diamonds and it was $100. The one I received when I was 20 was adorned with black pearls as opposed to the traditional white and white gold hearts around the diamonds and the two hearts in the middle were open hearts with mine and his birthstones on one, the other was diamond since we were in the same month. I'm just adding that back in the late '80's there was so much variety in the ankle bracelets, wish they would bring them back. They still have double heart rings which were nice to see as well.

You posted a beautiful story and treasure yours and treasure your husband God Bless.

Pam said...

Hi Nadine, I too up in Ridgewood, Queens and received an ankle bracelet from my boyfriend. We were married but unfortunately going through a divorce, but that's beside the point. I was at Tri-County Flea market today and found one!, can't remember the booth for those of you who know Tri-County Flea market in in Levittown, NY, I reunited with my first boyfriend and I was just browsing and asked if they still existed. I was talking to a girl who must have been no more than 20 years old so I was not sure if she would know what I was talking about. It was plain and no diamonds and it was $100. The one I received when I was 20 was adorned with black pearls as opposed to the traditional white and white gold hearts around the diamonds and the two hearts in the middle were open hearts with mine and his birthstones on one, the other was diamond since we were in the same month. I'm just adding that back in the late '80's there was so much variety in the ankle bracelets, wish they would bring them back. They still have double heart rings which were nice to see as well.

You posted a beautiful story and treasure yours and treasure your husband God Bless.

DC said...

Can you please tell me the "nickname" we used for the "double Heart necklaces". I sware they were called "double heart anklets" but my husband says there was another name for them..
Can you help?
Thanks!

Nadine said...

DC: I'm not aware of a nickname for it. I'm sorry I'm not much help in this area.

Sk8 Glen Cove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sk8 Glen Cove said...

Yes! Fellow Brooklynite checking in. First came the double heart ring, then the ankle bracelet. I remember one girl had ruby chips on hers. Very pretty.

my3sonzdmc said...

i lived on long island and it was very popular there, also...the date you started going steady was engraved on the back on the double hearts. i sure wish i still had mine, do you have any idea where i can purchase one??

Anonymous said...

I graduated high school in 1983 from Yonkers, New York (I'm guessing it was a New York thing)and everybody in school who was going "steady" had one of these ankle bracelets attached to another chain and worn around their neck. Unfortunately, I never received one, but when I met my husband in 1985 (he comes from New Jersey and asked for an ankle bracelet for my birthday he said and I quote,"I can buy you something better than that". (Which he did.) We are married 22 years but every once and a while I look on the internet to see if someone is still selling ankle bracelets like the one I never got and one day I will treat myself to one.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Bay Ridge and had my white gold ankle bracelet with the "chip" and black and white pearls (we thought that represented "pre-engagement"
He and the anklet are long gone! But a happy 25 years with someone I dated before him.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the name of this is necklace. I grew up in flushing. Went to Ryan jhs 216. when you were going steady that was the traditional gift your boyfriend would give you,An ankle braclet attached to a gold chain. never got one but boy did I want one. I was looking for this because i am thinking of asking my husband for one.

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Queens and was always jealous of the girls who got these from their boyfriends. I still want one! Hopefully maybe I'll get one from my hubby for Christmas. Congrats to you and your hubby and Happy Anniversary! Thank you for bringing back memories. :)

Eileen said...

I grew up in Brooklyn & I too had a ankle bracelet mine was white gold with black & white pearls & a diamond chip in the hearts given to me by my high school boyfriend how cool is your story!!!!

Anonymous said...

I lived on the Island (Suffolk County), but ALL my friends wore them around their necks too. I had a very good boyfriend back then. Even though my hubby never got me one, we're celebrating our 25th this month.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Yonkers, NY and this was "THE" thing any serious couple did back in the late 70s. Same design (two hearts, wings, and bracelet was attached to another chain to wear around one's neck.) The next best thing was wearing one's boyfriend's high school ring on a chain, but it didn't have the same cachet as an ankle bracelet.

My first boyfriend and I were in the process of getting one (I picked it out, and
he was paying for it on layaway) but our relationship ended (that's another story) and while he got a refund, I never got an ankle bracelet, either from him or any other beau.

Now that I'm an "old married lady" ;) I would love to get one of these from my husband if I can track one down. Any ideas?

Nadine said...

Dear Anonymous who grew up in Yonkers-

There is a link at the end of the post that you can click onto and get one of your own.

Hope you enjoy it.

Nadine

Pankie said...

My boyfriend, Gene gave me one 16 years ago and I still have it. The outline of the double hearts is are made of diamonds.

Anonymous said...

This was the big symbol of "steady" couples where I grew up too, Merrick, LI circa 1980. Such memories. I was given a couple of class rings and regular bracelets, but never the coveted anklet to be worn on a chain around one's neck.

Anonymous said...

I also wanted one. I finally got if after I got married! It had no chip. I finally scrapped it because it broke every time I wore it (either on a chain or around my ankle) and the pearls got all gray. The jeweler who repaired it told me to stop coming in because it couldn't be fixed anymore:( I'm amazed at how good yours still looks.

Anonymous said...

Hi

I also grew up in Brooklyn and I had my ankle bracelet around my neck as well. I also had a double heart ring. I married that man and then divorced. I also hocked both of them. LOL

Nancy

Anonymous said...

On line and found your blog regrading "The Ankle Bracelet." Last week I was doing some cleaning and found mine...I've been waring it since and yes this is a Brooklyn thing. I have mine for over 36 years. It was given to me by my husband when we were in our teens. I have five diamond chips; each chip in it's own heart. Thanks you for your post and God bless you.

lyla said...

I have been wanting one so bad. I actually went back to my home town (Brooklyn) I went to every jewelry store I could fine and never found one.

Rachel said...

I attended high school on Long Island in the late 80's, and believe me, ankle bracelets were still as popular then! But the girls in my school had even more ornate ones,with both names spelled out in script, and a banner hanging below with their anniversary date. Every girl was dying to get one from their boyfriend. :)

Nessa Borealis said...

Bless you for sharing this image--you've made a 1970s Queens born-and-bred girl very happy. Enjoyed your blog story, too. I always wanted an ankle bracelet (in Astoria, pronounced very specifically "annnnnnklebracelit" :) ) but I never dated a boy who was savvy enough to know about this neighborhood tradition. Congratulations on your happiness and thank you for sharing this warm memory.

Anonymous said...

I too grew up in Brooklyn, in Canarsie, and yes the ankle bracelet was synonymous with going steady...and the more chips you had, the better the guy, so to speak...wish I could find a jeweler that still made these; would love to have one with me and my husband's initials...

Anonymous said...

I had one when I was 15. I grew up in bellerose queens...we all wore them in a chain n we also had the double heart ring to match..our preengagement ring with our first loves.., im 42 now n happily married, just celebrated our first year..I want an ankle bracelet sooo bad. How can I find one?

Nadine said...

There is an update listed at the end of the post that includes a link where you can purchase one. Thank you for sharing in the memories.

kelly said...

I am from Long Island, and an 80's girl. An ankle bracelet was definitely the gift to get !! I wish I still had it. It off course had the leaves, engraved with our names and my double heart in the middle was rubies with a diamond outline, with our "date" engraved on the back. I Came across your site because I suggested my son get this for his girlfriend for Christmas. I didn't realize it was exclusive to our area and the "80's. I am going this week to see if I can have one made and is the cost is reasonable, order it !!

M Nigro said...

Yes, this post brought back wonderful memories. I grew up on Long Island and was in high school in the late 70's. My boyfriend and I started dating when we were 16 and the ankle bracelet was the #1 special gift a girl could get from her boyfriend. I was given the most beautiful ankle bracelet that had tiger's eye beads in place of the traditional pearls. That was 36 years ago and we just celebrated out 30 year anniversary. My son asked for ideas on what to get his girlfriend for Christmas and an ankle bracelet was the first thing I thought of. It was so incredible reading these stories and taking a lovely walk down memory lane. I still have my special gift and smile each time I slip it over my head. Great post.

Anonymous said...

I read the posts and went to the Tri-County Flea Market. They still have ankle bracelets and I bought one to replace one that I lost. I brought a picture of yours to show them what I wanted. Several booths did not have it, but the one man who did have it laughed and said he hadn't sold one in years. He had bought out someone else's inventory years ago. He said that gold is too expensive now and that is why the tradition ended. He gave me a good deal, and I am very happy. Thanks to the previous poster who gave the information.

Anonymous said...

Hi I was looking for a pic online of the ankle bracelets we got from a boyfriend in high school and found this blog. I was trying to describe to my southern children what Brooklyn girls wore "back then" in the 60s. The reason we wore it as a necklace was our Catholic school uniform required bobby socks. You couldn't wear it over the socks and under it would be pointless. We Brooklyn girls are smart! Thanks for this site - it's a walk down memory lane.

Anonymous said...

Was in high school on Long Island in the mid 80's. (Suffolk County) They were popular there too!

Anita C. said...

wow...does this take me back! I grew up and live in Brooklyn. I remember being so excited to get my ankle bracelet (with a diamond). I also remember getting my double heart ring. All the girls with sensible boyfriends received these items.

Mae Martini said...

Hi Nadine, I am also from Brooklyn and I remember these. Sadly, I did not get one of the coveted bracelets. I was a late bloomer...lol
I am currently writing my third novel, and the hero gives one of these to the heroine. I would like to include a picture in the back of the book, but can't find them on the web, except for yours. Would you mind if I copy and pasted it?
Thank you,
Mae

Nadine said...

Thank you Mae for asking permission. I would be honored if this photo helps a fellow author. I would love to see it when it's published. Good luck.

Mae Martini said...

Thank you very much. I will keep you posted. Fingers crossed it loads up.

Thank you, again,
Mae