Family Heirlooms

February 18, 2010


My grandmother Ruth, as well as her sister, Charlotte, was big on passing along family heirlooms. Granted, neither of them were exorbitantly wealthy. But over their lifetimes they acquired meaningful items—some of them of quality and value, some of them not so much—and they both were generous in giving them to the next generation.

Along with the heirloom gift, there always came a note.

Ah, those notes! In some ways, they hold more value than the heirloom itself. Sometimes written in a distinct handwriting, or sometimes formally typed (because both women did things very correctly), the notes explain to whom the item once belonged, from where it came and what sentimental value it holds. They contain its history.

Yesterday was my 31st wedding anniversary and I thought of the heirloom gifts I have from my grandmother. I have her silver. I have one of her anniversary rings. I have some furniture pieces, miscellaneous dishes and photographs. And, of course, I have her needlework—table linens, pillowcases, doilies and clothing—all of which are a small representation of her creative life.

I also have the notes.

Thankfully, even in my younger days, I’ve had the foresight to save the notes because they are the heart and soul of my grandmother’s gifts.

I received these pearl earrings from my Great-Aunt Charlotte (Ruth’s sister) and wore them for my wedding. Note the posts – they’re like screws! And thick. I was wearing spacer earrings before spacers were even cool.

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One Response to “Family Heirlooms”

  1. Ann Says:

    I would love to see one one of the notes!


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