With 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.
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,