Family heirlooms

I’m going to piggyback on another WC2 thread because why not.

So my mother has a number of things she thinks of as heirlooms. Hundreds, perhaps.

She is a borderline hoarder, but at least she doesn’t focus on acquiring new things.

The things that mean most to her, are a set of wall-mounted metal Canada geese that are “flying” over their fireplace at their home. If they sell the home and move to the cottage, those are coming with them. The other items are a set of three small ceramic ducks (in flight) that are precariously attached to the wall of the cottage stairs. If I were to break one, I’d be a dead person.

Those I will honour for as long as I am around.

But there are more. She has a set of tourist trap glasses from Florida which no one can use. They are from the 50s. They are hideous. They are on display in a common room at the cottage. No one knows why. This room has a lot of her “heirlooms”. Another is a plastic KiKat mug from the 60s (we think). None of this stuff is worth anything, before you assume it is.

Other items include swizzle sticks from restaurants she has visited, brochures, old gifts, old figurines, etc. I think Tetley Tea came with little ceramic animals at one time? Holy shit does she have a menagerie of those.

As a consequence, we will one day have a lot to throw away. It sucks, but we dare not touch anything.

My wife’s parents have both passed. Some of the items they left behind and we inherited are dozens of Royal Doulton figurines. They are worth a small fraction of the purchase price now. Ditto a lot of blown glass pieces. I have no idea what to do with them.

When I researched places to offload the Royal Doultons, an expert at a Toronto area auction house pointed out these items are now grouped together and typically sold for small amounts then shipped to China, where they are a minor status symbol. Back in the day, people (like my in-laws) were “acquisitive” - they acquired things and put them on display. Later generations don’t do that, so the figurines are worth next to nothing.

I loved that word, “acquisitive”.

Tetley Tea did have those figurines. Other products had kitch too.

I have some Royal Doultons too. I have mixed feelings about them. My grandmother and her sisters collected them. My great-aunt told me which figurine she wanted me to have and why. That one means a lot to me, mostly for the sentimental reasons. I still see her in the livingroom telling me this. Oh how I would love to sit in that living room or the kitchen on Southvale in Toronto and visit with her. We had such good talks and she was a true blessing in my life. I was also given Doultons when I graduated from college and university. A small one for community college, bigger ones for my BSW and MSW. Then there’s the one my grandmother gave me with my name (spelled wrong, but at least it is with a K) She also gave my sister and cousin ones with their names. I wonder what the boys got that was similar. The Doultons are in boxes in my sister’s garage.

Other than that, I have few mementos. I live in a small space. Things aren’t so important.

The Doulton we won’t get rid of is the “Jennifer” one that is blonde like my wife of the same name. But here’s the thing - we have TWO of them. I think her grandparents had one as well, so she inherited a second. I mean, seriously?

1 Like

The comment you made on WC2 about a cancer diagnosis forcing you to think about what is important is mildly amusing to me, as my mother had a similar diagnosis and she seemed to decide some of these things were MORE important. lol

We all handle the diagnosis differently. We want what gives us comfort I think. I still manage to have some clutter. Apparently that’s who I am. Still, paring down makes you evaluate what’s important in life. A cancer diagnosis does the same.

20 posts were split to a new topic: Jayne vs. Luce

Cleaning house this spring. Major purge. This thread is going to be pretty topical as I make keep/purge decisions.

I wonder what will spark joy?

Downsizing for us was very therapeutic. It lifted a load of our backs. I have no regrets. In fact, this place could use a purge and sort.

Good luck. Have fun.