The simplest of objects hold emotion and family history
I have, by far, the biggest collection of family furniture, linens, laces, eyelet tablecloths,
etc. (hand-made by my great-grandmothet and my great-aunt), books, jewelry, etc. The only thing I have ever given away was a much-loved sofa. Once I got it into my tiny apartment, it became clear that it had been stuffed with horsehair: from which no amount if anti-histamine can protect me. I was crushed when I realized that just not sitting on it wasn't easing my allergic, tight breathing and that it would have to go. I think I am like you & Pete. Giving any of it away would be like losing a piece of my heart.
Maura, thank you for sharing with so many of us another very moving piece about ways we connect with one another. I thought about all the pieces I've read in the last decade about parents/grandparents etc. who are disgruntled because their children don't want any of their silver, fine china, and other heirlooms. So many younger people simply say they don't entertain in the fashion of their elders. Objects like pieces of sentimental furniture no longer hold such deep meanings. I recall when a grandfather died the first time I returned to his home and seeing "his" empty chair. I was numbed, I was frozen. It was the place where I always found him, but he was gone. So for me the value of these "things" are the ways they have connected us to our loved ones. I felt that connection in your writing. Phoebe Davis, a colleague from our Kettering association, wrote some great pieces about aprons worn by the significant women in her life. Thank you yet again for your sensitive wisdom.
Our house is filled with objects from somebody else’s home. Someone who thought well-enough of us to pass down a well-loved treasure to us. My favorite is my grandmother’s cast iron pot that I use for stews and sauces.
I still remember walking into her house and smelling the mutton stew on the stove. Does anyone cook mutton stew anymore?
What a sweet and wonderful story, Maura! I wonder if the younger generation will be interested in such "heirlooms" once we pass. I've read that brown furniture is out of style. I'd like to think that it will come back in style, and symbolize continuity among the generations. (This p.o.v. represents a change on my part -- earlier in my life I couldn't care less, and thought it was stuffy.)