Monday, August 20, 2007

Quest by Quotation

No heirloom of humankind captures the past as do art and language. Theodore Bikel

What heirlooms capture YOUR past? Is there a favorite piece of clothing you just can't part with? Or is it your grandmother's set of dishes? Your old baseball glove? Or simply a memory....

Out with the Old, In with the Older!

I have spent a good bit of time this morning moving mementos and antiques out of their display cases and shelves. Church tithing banks that families used to collect their offerings for Sunday, duck decoys, and dust, lots of dust, all have gotten moved, wiped or packed away. I had thought I had done a great job with my husband of decluttering in the past few months. "Look at all that open space," we congratulated ourselves. Then my dad wanted us to divide more heirlooms and take them home.

Dividing heirlooms is not one of my favorite tasks. "Who gets what" combined with having to find space while also expecting my husband's (an only child) heirlooms to show up does not make for my kind of fun. My thought is, "if I have done without these things since I moved out at the age of 19, then I can do without them now." Well, except anything with a peacock on it - the fireboard, china plate, carnival glass bowl and yellowware pitcher. I am obsessed with peacocks but haven't the slightest inking why. No accounting for taste, I guess.

So I am dividing items into categories: stuff which is taking up space but has no meaning and can be sold or stored, "growing up" items with memories, married life acquirements that make me sentimental, things to rotate but keep on display, things destined for my children or the's work! No wonder the Bible warns about accumulating stuff with the story of the merchant who built bigger and bigger barns.

But I must confess that getting a piece of old slave made pottery from the Hilton plantation (with all the historical and emotional angst that entails), more of my dad's bird carvings, and other family items does cause a ripple of excitement as I anticipate their arrival. I can add them to the memories of partnering with my dad as we worked on his memoir as things truly worth holding on to with both hands. They inspire ruminations of history or appreciation of relationships and times gone by. So I will find the space for these things.

Maybe if I can get my kids to take some of the things that inspire their memories....

1 comment:

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