Those family heirlooms. Perhaps they are just a little old. They were your parents’ precious possessions. Maybe they are generations or centuries old. You may know little or nothing of the original owner, just that it was something passed down through those lines to you. The value may be great or have no monetary worth. But now they are yours or at least yours as a curator of those heirlooms. With that responsibility comes the difficult decisions to which descendants will receive these precious objects. Let’s face it, you received these heirlooms because your siblings aren’t interested, may sell them on-line or toss them in the damp cellar.
I’ve been a curator for most of my family’s heirlooms. A plate with a dog and dog house on it supposedly came with my second great grandparents from Germany. It appears to be a rustic plate made of stein material. My mother’s grandmother gave it to my father. She always called him “her big boy” even though that relationship was only through marriage. Cut glass pieces belonged to my mom, my dad’s sister, and his parents. Unfortunately, I don’t know who’s whose was whose. My grandfather’s shaving mug with his name in gold letters that would have been at his barber’s shop sits in my china closet. There is a musical photo album that was a wedding gift to my grandmother from her mother. Many more treasures are in my “museum”. People don’t use doilies any longer but there are quite a few in a drawer because they were something my mother, grandmother and great grandmother created. Photographs abound too. Those I am trying to digitize and give electronic copies in case disaster strikes and copies will still exist.
But why are all these things with me? My parents had siblings. Did they get family heirlooms? I know some did and still have them. Others received objects but didn’t keep them. Still others never had something passed to them. Their parents knew better than to trust them with an heirloom. Thank you, family, for your confidence in me to care for them but it is getting a little crowded at my house.