Do you have any family heirlooms? What are they?
I have family jewels. Do those count?
A tiny bit. I have a few pieces of improbably thin crystal glasses and dessert glasses that belonged to great-grandmother. They are splendid with an etched design of flower bows and thinner than flower petals.
As beautiful as that sounds, they also have little rim chips that need repair. Somehow, its like a metaphor of how I see myself – except I tend to focus on the chips and not the beauty of how life has etched me.
Not enough coffee yet!
According to my mother, spocko, they only count if you do something with them. 😉
I have a quilt my grandmother made for me. And I’m wearing the diamond stud earrings my other grandmother gave to me to wear for my wedding. I like to look my best on Saturday mornings.
How old do they have to be to be considered heirlooms? My grandmother had a cabinet with a curved glass door on it, she kept her teacup collection in it – you know, those little souvenirs with the names of places you’ve been? My mom has that cabinet now, and I so want it, I love the look of that swoopy glass door.
My father makes quilts as a hobby – pieced ones that he would then hand quilt. His health is such that he doesn’t really do it any longer. He’s made some amazing pieces, they are really works of art. I suspect those will be family heirlooms.
Oh, and A – the first quilt he made for me? Fighting Sioux logo in appliqued blocks that were then hand quilted. It hung in a museum in Moorhead, MN, when that museum first opened. He had to get permission from the University to use their logo – and they agreed, because it is a one off, but I’m forbidden from ever selling it. As if. Even though I’ve had offers. I was about 13 when he made it – my love for Fighting Sioux hockey goes back a lot of years.
Our house is chockablock with family stuff.
We have a writing desk that is two hundred years old and the size of my first New York apartment. We have my great-grandfather’s secretary in a much more manageable size. We have my father-in-law’s medals and dog tags, the flag given to my grandmother when they buried her son and the family’s first radio, bought in 1934. It still works.
My personal favorite is Jenny’s grandmother’s guitar, a 1947 Martin 00-18 with the sweetest voice. This guitar is so easy to play that it almost plays itself.
There’s more, but those are the highlights.
A handmade wooden bowl about 2 feet across. It was made by one of the workers in my great-grandfather’s sawmill and has been used for generations to make turkey stuffing for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve never roasted a turkey in my life but my family knows I have dibs on that bowl.
oooh, wanna see that bowl.
i have a few. i got the early 1900 bed set guests used. a necklace. lest stuff from paternal grandmother. but i have accumulated more heirlooms from estate sales. heirlooms from many families. photos too. now daily on my blog. tho, i had to list one on ebay after i learned the designer’s name and value. i guess i know what heirloom to buy.
Three large pipes from Denmark(my dads land) that date back to the late 18th century, I believe. Moms silver and china. Thats about it really. Strange when they pass on and you become caretaker to these sorts of things.
I had my mother’s diamond engagement and wedding rings (and hardly ever wore them) but recently gave them to my son and daughter-in-law to do with as they please. They can keep them as rings or use the diamonds to make another type of jewelry design. That way they will eventually go to my only grandchild, Milo, who can give them to his wife when and if he marries. Other heirlooms (at least I consider them so) include my father’s dog tags from WW2 which I do wear occasionally since we have the same initials.
My kitchen table, a massive oaken thing with two (now-missing) leaves, has been in the family since around 1880.
I have salt and pepper shakers with windmills and clouds on them from my family’s kitchen. When I was a kid I alternately thought the clouds looked like Snoopy or a really cool car. They aren’t fancy, like from the corner store, but they are around 60 years old, a gift from my grandparents (who I didn’t know) to my Mom for her wedding.
My childhood rocking chair, a secretary-desk handmade by my father, china gifted to my mom for her wedding. . .
A metric ton of old photos and papers. My mother, one of six kids, kept the stuff under lock and key and forbade us from telling our aunts and uncles about it. She didn’t want them “and their grabby hands” anywhere near it. On the day of her funeral, when everyone came back to the house, my sister and I brought all the boxes out to the living room so my aunt and uncle, the only two remaining of the six, could take what they wanted. I’ve also scanned some of it and sent to a couple of relatives I’ve contacted online that shared my mother’s genealogy obsession. So I feel like I’ve been a good steward of the data.
As for larger stuff, I think my favorites:
a long bench my grandfather made. It’s very plain and sturdy, with iron braces underneath (he was a blacksmith). It was used at the kitchen table and worn smooth by those abovementioned six kids’ butts, and those of their kids, and their kids’ kids over the years.
a big heavy blue bowl that my great great grandmother used to make bread in. It’s chipped and cracked. I don’t use it for cooking, just to hold onions and garlic.
A couple of blue glass bottles shaped like the Virgin of Guadalupe and a handmade clay pot my mother got in Vera Cruz years before I was born. It was cheap stuff at the time, probably never meant to last, but I grew up with it.
All in all, an odd lot, but there you go.
leinie, Sioux’s a girl’s name. 😉
I have a necklace that was given to me by my godmother on my 16th birthday which was given to her by her godmother on her 16th birthday and so on back. It’s a little locket that looks like a book. I don’t usually wear gold so I don’t wear it often but it’s lovely.
Oh, a book-shaped locket. That’s perfect!
I don’t have too many of the family things because there aren’t a whole lot. Most people have four grandparents to have old family things from; my maternal grandfather’s family immigrated from Scotland and lost everything they’d brought with them when their rented farmhouse burnt flat six months after they arrived. Most of the old things from my maternal grandmother’s family are either with her or my mother. My paternal grandmother was also an immigrant from Scotland, and so didn’t bring heirlooms with her. I don’t know if there really are any heirlooms per se aside from the family Bible and some letters and photographs from my paternal grandfather’s side.
I have a few things that belonged to my paternal grandfather (a squadron mug from my dad’s Air Force days and a conch shell, and a few little brass jewellery boxes from my grandmother), but Idefinitely don’t have any of the good stuff.
I do have a couple of family heirlooms from a friend’s family — he no longer had room for two tables he’d had from his grandfather, so he gave them to me. When he moved into a new house (from a tiny apartment) recently, I did ask him if he wanted them back, and he said no.
I covet my mother’s good dishes and some of the teacups she inherited from her great-aunt.
I have two: a jar of sand from Omaha Beach given to me by my great uncle, and the New Testament given to my grandmother by the U.S. Government when my grandfather went away to war. They help me wrap my head around that era, if just a little bit.
And I just received a third, recently – another great uncle self-published a book about my great-grandfather, who started the Moser family tradition of making insanely nice handcrafted southern drawing-room furniture. I would have preferred the family heirloom of whatever genetics explain my grandfather’s elite hand-eye coordination (he turned out to be the most gifted craftsman in the family, with a part-time job making five-digit-expensive desks and couches, and another making, I shit you not, handmade wooden powerboats – sort of like furniture with safety considerations), but unfortunately I can’t do anything design-related that doesn’t have a ctrl+z function.
Still, I really like the book.
I do have to confess I was disappointed to end up without one inheritance – when my grandparents got a house with a finished basement, they bought or otherwise obtained an eight-foot orange vinyl sleeper couch for it, completely at odds with my grandmother’s taste for floral patterns. I think I was the only person in the family who didn’t think it was totally hideous, although in my defense, when she helped the family move out, my mom’s artist friend thought it ruled. Not so much an heirloom as something totally awesome.
Unfortunately, getting it to Chicago would have required renting a UHaul, but since it’s the sort of amazingly berserk 60s furniture you only see once in a blue moon, I do miss it.
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