This week, some family items were passed on to my mother. She, in turn, gave me two boxes of family photos, jewelry, papers, and assorted oddments. This all made me start thinking about the sentimental things that we acquire along the way.
I was lucky enough to have had a great-grandmother who was more devoted to me than to any of the the "things" she had acquired in her some 92 years. So there was always the hazard, should I admire something at her home, that she would press it into my hands when I tried to leave.
There is her jewelry--far too fancy for everyday wear--but lovely to try on and to imagine her in her youth, with an occasion to actually wear a cocktail ring, preening before a mirror.
As one who loves the written word, I am privileged to have quite a few of her letters and postcards, some from beaus long since gone, but whose terms of endearment live on in a an old wooden box tucked under my bed.
I acquired a few ceramic pieces that were commissioned for her, and one small glass vase, both with her name painted into the design. The giver clearly smitten, but whose name has been lost to time.
A few family Bibles, a scattering of old school books and dictionaries...several pairs of eye glasses...a few incomplete manuscripts...old deeds...a few payment stubs...a ration book with a few still left in it...a large chunk of unprocessed copper...a brick from a house that was torn down but which I still recall from my youth...old photos and tin-types...an old calendar from my grandma's store...counter checks (if anyone remembers those)...property tax receipts...old phone books (with phone numbers of only four digits)...
So many things that have no practical purpose but to clutter my too small house...or so it would seem.
I run my fingers over the unfinished manuscript, and I hear a warning from across time as I glance over at my own manuscript.
I open the crumbling Bible, and the names and dates of birth of voices long unheard are painstakingly entered by an arthritic hand struggling to maintain the penmanship of which she was so proud, and the strength chiseled by 92 years of life warms me.
I open that ration book, and find solace in my well stocked pantry (and may it always remain so).
So many lessons still being learned from those who left this Earth so many years ago. I look around and wonder what my legacy will be...what will be retained and what will be lost to time? I only hope there will remain something of value...something worth boxing up and taking home.