"You can't take it with you." How many times have you heard that? And yet, we hang tightly onto our stuff as if we haven't heard or don't believe it will someday be left behind and mean nothing to us.
I've heard it said that when a person is living we tend to evaluate them by the things they possess but when they are gone we value their possessions because of whose they were. Things that have been handed down from one generation to the next should be valued, treated with respect, and preserved.
For that to happen, the younger generation needs to know what things are and where they came from. I have a lot of things that belonged to my grandparents and treasure them because they remind me of those special people. My children never knew my grandparents. I was only 16 when Grandma died. My children do not share my memories. When I look at the dry sink in my kitchen I can see exactly how it looked setting in my grandma's kitchen. I know where the candy dish was and the pretzel dish. I know where the yardstick was kept on top of it. I can see the men's hats on top and the blanket bed Grandma made in it for the newborn babies. My children remember the dry sink in their grandma's kitchen and my grandchildren remember it was always in my kitchen. My Grandma's father bought it for her when she got married in 1908. It was passed on to my mother and then to me. Someone will get it after me. If any of the next generation is going to fully appreciate that dry sink, they need to know its history. I have to tell them its story.
The same thing is true for a lot of other things in my house. Most of them are not highly prized antiques but valued because of whose they were. I had been marking things with stickers so my children will know what things are and where they came from. But with the passing of time stickers can fall off and the information be lost.
Two weeks ago I tackled a project that has been in the back of my mind for a long time. I'm taking pictures of everything and compiling a Heirloom Catalog. I procrastinated so long because I was thinking I need to take pictures and make a scrapbook. This summer it dawned on me that with a digital camera and computer it can be done electronically much faster and cheaper than having photos developed and making a scrapbook. I'm having a lot of fun going through things, remembering whose they were and how I got them. It's going to take some time but I'm making good progress.
Yes, someday I'll leave it all behind (and with no regrets) but the catalog will help my children decide what they want to keep and pass on to the next generation. I won't broadcast pictures of my most treasured items on the Internet, but here are a few things from my catalog. Want to take a little quiz?
Where did a family get a cup like this?
What was this used for?
This is an _______ ____________.
In what room of the house was this used?
(Answers: 1. Cups, saucers, and cereal bowls like this were hidden inside a round cardboard box of Quaker Oats. 2. The wooden bowl and paddle were used to make homemade butter. 3. An egg scales. 4. The bedroom. It was called a "chamber pot." It spared you a trip to the outhouse on a cold dark night.