This week two seemingly uneventful things occurred and converged into some interesting thought and introspection. I was sorting through some boxes of personal items that I had collected and saved from my early years, and later in the week I went to a favorite antique mall to wander and enjoy.
My precious boxes contained, in particular, linen handkerchiefs that were embellished with crocheted edges lovingly made in rainbow colors by my maternal grandmother. Every Easter, my sister and I received these beautiful lacey treasures from Nana to put in our Sunday purses. There were at least a dozen, clean but not ironed or folded in the particular way Nana did. I caressed each and put them back in the box.
Later, as I walked through the vendor stalls that capture and display bits of the past, I had the usual responses – thoughts as to why someone would abandon these precious things to be purchased by perfect strangers, and to reminisce about familiar items that reminded me of a part of my childhood and heritage.
As I sat here sipping a martini with four olives (veggies, an important part of the food triangle) I had a horrible thought! More than likely, my beloved handkerchiefs would ultimately end up in an antique mall or in a land fill. Having two sons, I never shared the story of my handkerchiefs with them, as you can imagine. BUT – Now, I do have two granddaughters of my own. As they are getting a little older, perhaps it is time to share the handkerchiefs and stories with them. Then maybe, just maybe their great grandmother’s handkerchiefs won’t end up in an antique mall for perfect strangers to wonder about.
The moral of this story is to take every opportunity to share your precious items and memories with the next generation or at least put a short family history with the items so that when the time comes they can make their own judgment as to whether to keep or get rid of your precious stuff – and boy do I have stuff – my stuff and stuff from others.
We inherited many old items from my husband’s family home and unfortunately there is no family history to attach to some of them. I know that his Mom and Dad were antique shop devotes, collecting the histories of others. What are actually his family’s heirlooms, and what belonged to strangers is not clear. Too bad – the cycle will probably continue.
My mission is to start putting stories with our precious things or give them to the younger family members along with the history so that some day, maybe just maybe they will lovingly remember.