Family History, Part 1

quiltsWith the previous generations of my family just about gone, I now seem to have custody of all their artifacts. You know, quilts and crocheted afghans, antique photos, some art deco costume jewelry, and enough dishes to serve an Academy Awards banquet, if you’re not picky about all of them matching.

I view myself as the Caretaker of the Ancestral Stuff, which must all Stay In The Family. It’s my job to make sure nothing gets lost, scratched, broken, faded, or….

But recently I’ve started asking myself, why? I mean, it’s getting out of control.

Some things are worth keeping, of course. Many of them I can use. Great-Great-Grandmother’s rocking chair? Absolutely! The half-moon table Dad made in high school wood shop? You bet. And Nana’s potato-salad bowl? Of course. dish

Then you get into grey areas. I probably won’t actually use the silver-plated flatware, and while the eggbeater is cute and all, we have Kitchen Aid now. But… the flatware box doesn’t take up that much room, and surely I can find some charming way to display the eggbeater.

Worse than that, I’ve descended to the “What are you even thinking?” level. Really, why the dishtowel with the hand-embroidered kitten? Or the worn-down Mo-Pac Railroad pencil (the one with the petrified eraser)?

Then there are the handkerchiefs. Oh, mercy…

When my mom was growing up, girls and women may have owned only three pair of shoes, but they’d have seven hundred thousand handkerchiefs. I’d bet that, in her last years, Mom still had every one she’d ever owned, along with a box of my grandmother’s hankies. You’d think I would save a few especially dainty ones as mementos, and get rid of the rest. No, I’ve got the whole stash. And I haven’t used a handkerchief since 1965, give or take.

Your turn: Am I crazy for bubble-wrapping my family’s Ancestral Stuff? Do you have mementos of past generations? If you’ve kept a lot of such items, why have you? Your thoughts are welcome in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page.

Next time: Seriously. Who am I keeping these things for?

Thanks for reading,

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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4 Responses to Family History, Part 1

  1. Cindy Gise says:

    I am the keeper of all things old. From my family and Dan’s family. Dishes, quilts, pictures, bibles, furniture, you name it. And also dollies and handkerchiefs. I saw an idea to frame the hankies or make them into a quilt – may try the quilt. I use the dishes and look at the quilts. Other things are stored in various closets. Need to give to my kids and other relatives so they can store in their closets!

    Love, Cindy


  2. Pingback: Family History, Part 2 | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

  3. Pingback: Accuracy is Everything | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

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