Family Lockets

Doris’s Baby Locket

Leora Goff Wilson was the oldest in her family and the only one married, with two small sons. She started writing letters to boys in military service in 1918 when the oldest three of her seven brothers were sent to fight in France with the 88th Infantry Division. When baby Doris Wilson was born that August, Wayne Goff was especially taken with the news of the birth of his first niece. He sent money home from France, asking his younger sisters to buy a gift for the baby. Georgia and Ruby Goff chose a locket for baby Doris, large enough for her to enjoy wearing as an adult. They had it engraved “Wayne to Doris.”

First Anniversary

locket (3)

Doris grew up during the Great Depression and was a waitress when WWII began. She married an Iowa farmer who’d become a pilot in Texas.

Marfa, Texas, was so crowded during WWII that Doris and Warren Neal lived in a room in a church. Some people were even living in the Marfa hospital.

So they decided it would be better if Doris returned home for the birth of their first baby, and they could spend a few weeks with her mother’s help. The couple rode the train back to Iowa in March, 1944, with the baby due in late May.

The Neals spent their first anniversary apart, but Warren sent Doris a locket with pilot’s wings on it to commemorate the day–May 16, 1944.

Photos inside are from their 1943 wedding. The bow is a pin, added later.

My Baby Locket

Looks like I used it for teething!

The bow is a pin, added later

Do you have a locket or piece of jewelry that has a family story?


  1. I have a locket that was given to me by my grandfather’s first cousin. She had to get her husband to open it. He was very dismissive of the photo inside: “Hmph. Looks like a Brown. Must be somebody’s uncle.”

  2. I’ve never discovered any lockets among the family’s heirlooms. Perhaps one or more existed, but I’ve never run across one or even heard of the existence of one. But I’ve surely enjoyed reading about the ones in your family! Thanks for keeping your family’s history alive–and for encouraging others of us to do so as well.

    • Our son had asked whether we had a family ring when he got engaged. No, nothing. She doesn’t like gaudy jewelry, but nothing suitable. Yes, I’m thankful to have these.

  3. My husband’s grandma left behind a LOT of jewelry, all costume as far as I can see. I think there is a locket in there. I’ll have to explore further. I haven’t wanted to get rid of any of the old costume jewelry, but I don’t know what to do with it all.

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