Last Autumn I wrote that we threw out our guest room furniture during a frenzy of cleaning. I felt a smidgen of guilt about it: even though the furniture was in bad shape, it had belonged to my great-grandparents. However, I decided to quash that guilt (a rarity for me since I am very susceptible to guilt).
A few weeks later, my mother was planning to come visit after Thanksgiving and I helpfully alerted her to the fact that the guest room now has no furniture, so she would need to bring the inflatable bed. I expected her to be a tad miffed. After all, we now had no place for her to sleep (brilliant tactic to deter guests or thoughtless, ungrateful child…you decide). Truthfully, her reaction stunned me because she was really upset that I had thrown away family heirlooms (again, I reiterate that the furniture was falling apart, was an unusual size and would have cost more to repair than replace if we had liked the style). I pleaded our case, but she sighed and declared:
My father always said it was the work of the next generation to destroy what came before
And that comment really pissed me off. I don’t value something simply because of its age, ownership or monetary value. I value something because it has meaning either to me or the previous owner, and I also think that I have the right to decide how I decorate my house and with what.
Since I sometimes think that my family perceives me to be cold and unsentimental, I thought I would show you a few things I do cherish from previous generations.
These are just a few things. I also have books, a turtleneck that belonged to my beloved TT (my father’s father) that I wear under a sweater, my great-grandmother’s box of costume jewelry and other odds and ends. Sometimes I think I’m a bit like a magpie because I treasure a lot of “shiny” things (yes, I always wanted to be a princess), but they are all objects that are dear to me for various reasons.
Maybe I don’t define my family treasures the way others would, but my definition makes them no less special. All I ask for is the right to find my own meaning.
What are some of your beloved family treasures and why?