Family Jewels

With two big moves under Mom’s belt, she’s unwillingly parted with many treasures. Growing up, nothing was disposable (talking to you cloth diapers). Saying farewell to an antique piano struck the same chord as ditching a chipped Norman Rockwell mug. Heirlooms were repaired and resurrected, ensuring multiple generations could lug them around from apartment to apartment.

Family jewels are a blessing and a curse. The odd time it’s a diamond ring, but more often its low-hanging fruit. Precious tchotchkes teeter on crocheted doilies, peer out from china cabinets, and perch high on mantels. True devotees display wedding cake toppers under glass domes; the bride and groom desperate to change into sweats and get on with their lives.

God help you if your mother was a collector. Royal Doulton, grandfather clocks, and coin collections that made no cents. Dusting knickknacks was the short straw of chores – haphazardly break a wing off that Hummel, and you might as well pack your bags. Premium wall space showcased a wooden rack of souvenir spoons. Does the fact you spent years carefully stroking them with a soft cloth sway your will to inherit?

If Mom had it her way, there’d be a mountain of Fannie’s fabric bolts stored in my basement. Pictures of unknown families smiling broadly in frames never hung sit next to gently used exercise equipment. There’s little desire and no space to receive the gems she perceives as good shit. I’d be forced to pare down my own hoard of trappings.

Thankfully, Millennials and Gen Z have discovered a love for sipping from china teacups, donning strands of pearls, and refurbishing antique dressers. Vintage is en vogue. Keepsakes are a connection to their history, tokens of tales that have lost their storyteller. With every box of porcelain I haul to my daughter’s tiny digs, the heirloom hierarchy is restored!

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  1. Moi

    So true and so well written!

  2. Jo

    You’re preaching to the choir, sister!

  3. Rachel kokott

    So true. Can relate!!

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