Passing along heirlooms & memories

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  #1  
Old 07-22-16, 06:53 AM
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Passing along heirlooms & memories

I'm in the process of sorting out years of memories left behind by my grandparents, parents, our own collection, and three kids and it is hard to decide what should stay and what should go. Pictures with no names or dates that no one recognizes are easy, but hundreds upon hundreds of other photos dig at my memory strings and say they want to stay.

Then there are the physical items many of which have memories that only I or my wife can connect with. The old 10" carving knife in the drawer is in bad shape and rusts a bit every time it goes through the dishwasher. But that was my mother's favorite kitchen knife and I can remember so many time her saying how much she liked it. But no one else will ever have that connection.

My question is how do we sort and preserve a small portion of the past so that those in the future will want to save it. I dread the thought that all of what we pass on is destined for a yard sale or worse.

Bud
 
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Old 07-22-16, 09:08 AM
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When my mother died I had the same problem, what to do with dishes we grew up with that neither of us needed. I still miss them but could not keep. We just kept some of the smaller items.
 
  #3  
Old 07-22-16, 09:12 AM
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It's always hard to go through this process. Here's what worked for me and my three sisters when my Mom passed. But we all got along well so process probably wouldn't work for all.

When first faced with cleaning out my Mom's place to prepare it for sale, we allowed all her kids to select anything and everything they wanted to keep. Grandkids were also allowed to select an item or two that had sentimental value to them. There were only a few items that more than one person wanted; in those cases they either worked it out between themselves, or flipped a coin.

All the photos, letters, personal notes, stuff like that, were collected and saved. I am gradually going through and scanning them or photographing them and will give a digital copy to all when finished. My Mom was a good cook and had many cherished note cards with recipes, complete with food stains and little notes. Rather than retype them, I just scanned them, stains and all, and gave a copy to all.

When the first sorting was done, there was still a fair stack of things that had some sentimental value but that no one really wanted at the time. I packed those things up and stored them for about a year. Then, at a family party, we went through them all again and gave everyone a second chance to take any wanted items. What remained was donated.

We all miss Mom, but we all have a few cherished items to remind us of her. So far at least, no one has expressed regret for not keeping some item or another.
 
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Old 07-22-16, 09:23 AM
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Hi, Bud.

I don't have as much of a problem since years ago my nephew (older brother's kid) accepted the position of family historian. We all figured he was best as he was/is the last of the direct line from my grandparents. He has been given most of the photos (with information) as well as other documents and while he was in Europe several years ago he was able to trace the family history back a few hundred years.

Nonetheless, I DO have several keepsakes from my younger years and before. I have my grandmother's pocket watch which has her name and the date 1905 engraved in it. I have some little ceramic figurines that belonged to my mother that I am sure would have no significance to anyone else. I have an "Uncle Wiggily" cocoa mug and a brown ceramic piggy bank that also belonged to my mother along with several of her old books. From my father I have some older tools and a "Ferdinand" (Disney Knickerbocker Ferdinand the Bull Figure).

I had a box containing probably a few hundred photo negatives that when I went through them were mostly of my daddy's exploits through Europe during WWII. As such I hadn't the foggiest idea of the people or places pictured so I tossed them. Even the negatives into the early to mid fifties I felt were of little to no interest as I didn't know most of the people pictured with the exception of my brothers and parents. I kept those latter negatives and tossed the rest. Alas, I no longer have any means of printing pictures so most likely I will sort through the negatives and place them in individual envelopes along with a description of the picture.

Then several items of my own that I am sure will have little, if any, meaning for anyone else. Maybe some of my old books will have some value as historical pieces but other than those I bequeath to a select few individuals I expect them to be landfill material or at best go to a used book buyer/seller for a mere pittance of their real value. I have LOTS of things like your mother's knife that I know will just be tossed or go to a thrift store or yard sale. It can't be helped and I won't be here to mourn so I simply accept that as it is. That is why I am trying (not all that successfully) to pass on certain heirlooms before I die, knowing that the person that receives it really wants it.
 
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Old 07-22-16, 10:22 AM
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I don't like clutter but would save as much as possible.
I live in California but grew up in Ohio. I miss the "old stuff". I wouldn't care how valuable the stuff is, but what it was used for and how people made it without technology.
An example would be I can't bake a pie as good as my grandmother and I would like to have her rolling pin and see how that was even possible to cook something that good
It doesn't hurt to find a 1957 Les Paul Guitar in the trash, but the other things are good too.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 01:52 AM
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Dealing with our parents and grand parents items when they pass on is something we all face sooner or later. As will our kids when we pass on. Been there and done that too. There is no specific way. Each family does it differently but it's all the same.

This section just happened to catch my eye:
My Mom was a good cook and had many cherished note cards with recipes, complete with food stains and little notes. Rather than retype them, I just scanned them, stains and all, and gave a copy to all.
Suggestion:
Site has a recipes forum to share recipes. Maybe others would like to have them. Posting allows us to try them. Post each of them separately. You may elect to close the post. Share them with the rest of the community...

 
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Old 07-23-16, 04:21 AM
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Carbide, The key to you success is that all your siblings got along. Kudos for you.

My Mom realized this dilemma when she understood she had to give up her house hold and live her remaining days with my sister and in a different city. She told everybody to come and pick out furniture and the like to take. Of us three siblings nobody wanted anything (with deference to my brother and sister, they both live out of town). She was heartbroken, until my wife spoke up and said she wanted specific items and my son wanted the old upright piano my Dad used. She was so happy. The down side was that I now have more "junk" than I can cope with. I feel sorry for my kids when they must divvy up all my junk. But I make a point of saying its all just stuff and little of it has that much sentimental value that you don't need to feel guilty about getting rid of it. The mind keeps us "alive".
 
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Old 07-23-16, 04:29 AM
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As most here know, I talk too much so one of my gifts to future generations will be some of my stories. Humans have a long history of passing along all kinds of information in story form so maybe not a bad idea.

My dad was in the air force and worked extra at the NCO club (non commissioned officers) as a cook. One night they discovered they were out of French dressing and the customers were complaining. So, my dad grabbed some mayo, mustard, ketchup, and a little pickle juice, whipped it together and used it for the rest of the night. Well, they loved it and from then on many would come is and ask for my dad's special salad dressing. My dad's name was Kenneth so they would ask for "Ken's salad dressing" (early 60's no connection to the modern day brand).

I'll post the ingredients in the recipes forum.

Bud
 
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Old 07-23-16, 04:36 AM
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In high school I worked in a german restaurant. The chef's last name was Heinze and he personally made all the salad dressings. Always got a kick out of them telling the customers when asked that the salad dressing was made by Heinze.
 
  #10  
Old 07-23-16, 04:39 AM
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As for the current relatives not wanting any of the family leftovers, times change and often future generations have a different perspective.

My FIL was digging through old pictures and found an old B&W of a camp his grandfather used to own. When he got old he asked his kids if anyone wanted the old cabin and no one was interested, just too far away.

Well, I still have that picture somewhere and it was far more than a camp. More like a lodge located on top of a beautiful mountain in the Poconos. What used to be too far away would be heaven today.

Bud
 
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Old 07-24-16, 05:13 AM
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On this subject of passing along memories and heirlooms has got me thinking...

Looking around in my shop, garage and man cave, so much collected items and once used stuff... Stuff I know I'll never use again... You too have the same dilemma, if you stop a moment and think of it.

Machinery, sporting, boating, camping, lawn and gardening equipment etc. becomes mind boggling. What to due with it all??? If I had to get rid of it all or some of it??? Same situation surviving family members will have.

Known facts. Making prearrangement burial & inheritance plans does not always include what we leave behind. As we age we lose the desire, energy and ability to keep up our present or recent life styles. The problem is what to due with all our stuff? Sell it, donate it or take the easy way out... Leave it to family members to deal with it all......
 
  #12  
Old 07-24-16, 07:16 AM
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And the cycle of life and junk continues.
 
  #13  
Old 07-24-16, 07:30 AM
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Leave it to family members to deal with it all.
This is what we are going to try to prevent.
We hopefully have a few decades left on the downward slope and the above seems to be what has been the norm in our family circle.

The problem we have in organizing and downsizing is our varied interests and hobbies make us struggle with stuff that we have and will use and what could be considered hoarding.

Greg
 
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Old 07-25-16, 04:42 AM
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We each and all deal with the items and stuff we have plus that which our parents and grand patents left us with differently. Seems those among us whom save a lot of our own stuff plus parents stuff think it either has some real value or simply no idea what to do with it all...

Proof is evident in efforts finding a vacant storage locker. Not many vacancies but there is plenty of facilities to rent a locker from. Guess most folks are gladly willing and able to pay to store it all. Likely do to what to due with it? Willing to pay storage locker fees to store someone else whom has to deal with it all...

 
  #15  
Old 07-26-16, 04:56 PM
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Just spotted this article, related to the topic and expressing some of the sentiment we all will have to deal with.
The small relics we hold on to — Living — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Bud
 
  #16  
Old 07-26-16, 10:43 PM
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That was a good article Bud and it brought back memories of my own after my father passed away in 2005. My father as many of you know was a mechanic and once he retired all of his tools including his big huge Craftsman tool box were put in the basement. After retirement my father rarely used the box except on a few occasions with just hand tools and nothing air related. I myself am not mechanically inclined I know next to nothing about automobile engines so we decided to sell my fathers tools.

If I were to sell them though I wanted to make sure that for the most part they didn't go to dealers and only to a mechanic which I managed to do quite well. Before they sold though I wanted a few tools for myself and I still have them as they are good for repairing appliances too among other uses. We have a plumber friend who really liked my dad and they would do repairs for each other when my dad had his station. Anyone who has ever rented store space or rented a gas station will tell you the landlord is very slow to do repairs so our plumber friend came in handy.

Anyway months after my father died I gave our plumber friend one thing out of the tool box and he selected a small tubing cutter. He might still have the tubing cutter I can't say for sure as I haven't asked him since I gave it to him. I do hope though that when he retires he passes that tubing cutter onto his grandson so that he can use it. Of course his grandson may not be interested in the tubing cutter and that is o.k. as I know that at least for a while our great friend used it in his business.

I know though not just from that experience but from other experiences with my grandmothers estate and others how difficult it is to decide on what goes to whom. I have things of my own that by the time anyone gets those things they will be worn out and probably of no use to anyone. Then too there are the computers and other electronics things that by the time I am gone probably no one will be interested in as they will be obsolete. Some things are already obsolete and I am trying to go through things and sort them out.

Then too confession time do you guys remember those pictures I made out of negatives? Well I still am not done with those yet I got side tracked or more like derailed but those need to be done soon or I may never have a name to some of the pictures. We all have our own individual struggles though but somehow we manage.
 
  #17  
Old 07-27-16, 06:21 AM
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Nice story Hedge

Coming to grips with the eventuality that everything that adds up to "us", like memories, will eventually fade away is difficult. A sad commentary, but the only thing that will last through the centuries will probably be that short epitaph carved into our gravestone.

But the way she describes the year by year shrinking of those things we hold dear is so real. The library of pictures will be easy for people to hang onto, but each must be well captioned or they will be destined for the delete button.

Ha, maybe some of the threads here will last a few generations! Maybe we need a dedication page that after one passes the forum identifies who the poster really was with a big thanks for the 50,000 contributions.

Bud
 
  #18  
Old 07-27-16, 10:23 AM
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Maybe we need a dedication page that after one passes the forum identifies who the poster really was with a big thanks for the 50,000 contributions.
That leaves me out. I'm approaching 17,000 posts but as I age day-by-day my posting becomes less and less and far more often ignored.

While I probably have several members of extended (much extended) "family" I have very few people that are close to me. Close real family would include my older brother, his wife, their son and the son's wife and two children. I have not seen any of them for more than ten years and I quite honestly don't have a problem with that. More extended "family" has been much longer since I have had any contact. These people are simply not family to me.

I have often mentioned my "sister" (without the quotation marks) in this community, sometimes mentioning that she is my adopted sister. The truth is, she is a woman that I met about a year after my divorce through a personal ad. Although she is the only woman that I have ever considered as being "marriageable" (I guess that is a word as the Firefox spell check let it through) she never felt that way about me. It was maybe a couple of years after meeting her that I was helping her move and we were sitting in the empty living room of her apartment when I told her that she left me no choice, that since she wouldn't be my girlfriend I had no choice but to adopt her as my sister. She has been my sister ever since, going on for more than twenty-five years now. When others see our interactions they have no problem in accepting us as brother-sister and are often amazed when they hear "the rest of the story".

My point is, that there are VERY few things that I own that Kate would want to keep, for any reason. Her son, whom I have known since he was six (now 36) already has numerous keepsakes from the early years. My plan, at this time, is to leave him my house when I croak and whether or not he will want to keep it I have no idea. But most of my treasures, things that are near and dear to me, have no meaning whatsoever to anyone else. I have a few friends that will take a few of my books and tools but the majority of my current possessions will likely be sold via yard sales or auction or just sent to the landfill. I guess that will be okay as I will be dead and not caring what happens to my material things at that point in time. I do hope that at least some good memories of my life last a few years after my death.
 
  #19  
Old 07-27-16, 11:38 AM
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LOL, any threshold they might choose, if there needs to be one, I would hope would be less than the example I used. Not many will ever reach the 50K mark.

I have a small collection of electronic parts and will at some point contact the local schools to see if these parts can be used in their extracurricular programs. Would be a lot more rewarding than a landfill.

Bud
 
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