May 13, 2014

Mark of a Man Excerpt-Tear Catchers/Peeper & Aunt Noreen

Update: I got an email from Lorena, the creator of the tear catcher pictured below.  I found it on Pinterest and stated that in my article, but now I am pleased to share this replica is made with a vintage Avon bottle from Rose &  Plum on Etsy.  Please go to to discover more beautiful treasures.  Thank you, Lorena,  for allowing me to credit your artistry! -Jane Marie


Tear Catchers, also called tear vials or tear bottles, were used to capture tears.  They go way back and I discovered they are mentioned in the Old Testament, Psalm 56:8. Some came with an opening in the top to let the tears evaporate.  When the vial was empty, mourning was over.  A bottle with a solid top might be used by a widow.  A year after her husband's death, she would empty the contents over his grave.  Or a returning soldier would discover how much he was missed.

I found a sample of a necklace tear catcher on Pinterest (link below).  This could be one used by Aunt Noreen, a less than gracious character in The Goodbye Lie, Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow and Mark of a Man, novels in my Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy.

Lachrymatory, tear catcher necklace
Here is a silly excerpt of the on-going bicker-fest between beloved Grandmother Peeper and not so beloved Aunt Noreen from my upcoming historical novel Mark of a Man set in 1898 in Fernandina on Amelia Island:  

   "Keep our Bird a the Earth in yur care, dear Lord," prayed Peeper, unable to kneel and so was seated on the edge of a chair.
   "Strengthen those of us who remain behind," added Aunt Noreen, removing the cork from the tiny tear catcher she wore hanging about her neck.
   Peeper saw the familiar movement and asked, "Why are ya actin' so sad, Noreena?  You don't never care a lick fer nobody but you. If ya think you're ashowin' yur devotion by collecting tears, ya ain't. Everybody knows how ya kin squeeze out yur eye-drops whenever ya have the notion.  I wouldn't be surprised ta find ya drank a extree glass a water afore ya come here, just ta be certain there was anuf juice in ya ta have a good weepin' flow."
   Hoping the others were more concerned with their praying than with Peeper's true evaluation, Noreen only compressed her lids more tightly, gathering another droplet from her left eye.  

To see more tear catchers, click here and scroll down the page: