My grandparents moved into the house on East 33rd Street in February of 1968. My mom was about to turn six, and her younger sister was only a month away from being born. My mom always says she remembers it vividly: my grandmother eight months pregnant, sitting under the shade of the awning on the front porch, directing the movers.
Forty-three years later, my grandmother decided it was time to leave this home and its original avocado-green fridge. I spent every Christmas in that house, even my first Christmas at one-month old. So for the Christmas of 2010, my family and I went there one final time.
My mom and I slowly made our way through the house, identifying the things we wanted. One night we were going through the mid-century modern highboy in the guest bedroom, her room growing up. In the bottom drawer, we came upon a treasure trove of costume jewelry my aunts had somehow missed. Among the baubles was a gold bangle.
In the summer of 2011, I was at my parent’s house, packing to move from Georgia for the first time, across the country to Madison, WI. In the background, I was re-watching Mad Men. I looked up from the pile of clothes I was folding and placing in boxes, dropped what I was doing, and darted toward the T.V. I paused the episode and immediately called my grandmother. Joan was wearing the gold bangle.
As silly as it sounds, I’ve come to treasure the bangle even more ever since I discovered Joan wearing it. I always knew the bangle was genuinely vintage, but for some reason, knowing costume designer Janie Bryant deemed it worthy for Mad Men makes it all the more authentic.
Note: I attempted to remember and locate the original episode in which Joan wears the gold bangle, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so before publishing this post. Now I have a good excuse to re-watch the entire series and report back! However, Joan wears the bangle again in the final season, episode 12.