Thursday, April 19, 2012

Family Heirlooms

My family means the world to me. They are my rock, my guidance, and my support. Being a sentimental individual, it's not surprising that I love family heirlooms.  I am always interested to find out more about my history, how my family came to be, and the accomplishments they made.

I have always been particularly close to my maternal grandparents. My grandmother, who will turn 91 this year, now resides in a nursing home and my grandfather passed away ten years ago this August. This past Sunday (April 15) would have been his 93rd birthday. When I was a kid, I was so amazed by their home and all the love that filled it. Pictures of our family hung on every wall, there was always a home cooked meal on the stove, and just about everyday you could find my grandparents in the kitchen dancing around to a Randy Travis cassette. They were the epitome of love, and all I ever wanted was to grow up and be exactly like them.  I wanted that love, that spark, and that desire.

Last year when we had to move my grandmother to a nursing home, it was devastating for our whole family. Leaving her home was probably the toughest experience she had to endure, and we all felt her pain. Now that a whole year has passed and we have come to the conclusion that she will not be able to reside in her home, the decision was made to start cleaning it out. Being three hours away from my hometown, it has been hard to help start the process. I have been there emotionally for my family, as I know this is not an easy task. This past weekend was the first time I had been in my grandparents home post mission clean up. I walked in and felt like my breath had been taken away. Nothing was in it's place and it all started to feel all too real. Tears filled my eyes as I walked around. The clutter of newspapers my grandmother had in the corner had been moved, the twin bed that I slept in when I visited was gone, and all the picture frames had been taken off the walls. It felt like my childhood was fading away.

 Luckily, I have a kind family who is willing to share the heirlooms that once filled their home.  As harsh as it sounds, I was able to make my way through the home and collect the items that I wanted to keep.  These things remind me of my grandparents, my childhood, and the memories that were made.

My grandfather was a First Sergeant in the National Guard Armory.  He served in WWII, was a volunteer firefighter, and a member of the local Masonic Lodge.  To say he is my hero is an understatement.  Below is a picture of an heirloom that I will always cherish.  This represents his bravery, strength, and courage.

This hat also belonged to my grandfather, and we believe it was for his position in the Masonic Lodge.
When looking at the hat, I noticed a stamp on the inside.  My maternal grandfather purchased it from my paternal great grandfather's store.  How cool is that?


This beauty is my prize possession.  For as long as I can remember, I have asked my grandmother if I could have this china cabinet.  It first belonged to my grandfather's mother and was given to her when she passed away.  I was so nervous packing this antique into the back of my husband's truck and driving it 3 hours to our home.  It was wrapped in so much bubble wrap and blankets that it probably wouldn't have broken if an elephant stepped on it!

I have great plans for filling this family heirloom and can't wait to show you the finished product!

On my next trip home, I will be coming back with a few pieces of crystal and my grandmother's antique Singer sewing machine.  I plan to learn how to sew on it and make her proud!

As sad as it is to see my grandparent's home be gutted and cleaned, it is a blessing that we are able to carry on their traditions and keep the heirlooms in our family.  
I hope these items will mean as much to my children as they do to me.  

5 comments:

Emily said...

that is so awesome that you were able to take some of the things that meant the most to you. they will serve as reminders of countless memories for many years to come. my family is big on tradition too...change can be so hard!

beautiful china cabinet!

Laurie @ Rookiewife520.blogspot.com said...

What a beautiful story! I'm the same way, I have a vintage mirror and hairbrush set from my great gramma, and although I've never met her my mom tells me great stories. She received the hair brush when she was 16 as a gift and I will always cherish it and can' wait to hopefully hand it down to my own little girl one day.

Bethany Phillip said...

I love furniture that has been passed down throughout the family & has a story! My house is filled with all kinds of stories from pieces of furniture, pictures, etc. I love your honesty about how hard change can be for your grandparents, I've recently experienced the same thing! Thanks for sharing!

Samantha said...

I teared up reading your story about your grandparents. I am very close with my maternal grandparents as well. My grandpa passed away about 10 months ago and it's still so hard. My mom, younger brother, and I lived with them for awhile growing up and I have the greatest memories of them laughing, singing, home-cooked meals, etc. I want to be just like them... it was definitely a home filled with LOTS of love.

Thanks for sharing your story, I can't imagine how hard it is on your grandma/you/your family to have her in the nursing home and go through her things at her home. Good luck to you, stay strong!

PS. You won my giveaway - Email me at petitefemmejolie@gmail.com !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Happy Friday!

Sam

Samantha said...

I teared up reading your story about your grandparents. I am very close with my maternal grandparents as well. My grandpa passed away about 10 months ago and it's still so hard. My mom, younger brother, and I lived with them for awhile growing up and I have the greatest memories of them laughing, singing, home-cooked meals, etc. I want to be just like them... it was definitely a home filled with LOTS of love.

Thanks for sharing your story, I can't imagine how hard it is on your grandma/you/your family to have her in the nursing home and go through her things at her home. Good luck to you, stay strong!

PS. You won my giveaway - Email me at petitefemmejolie@gmail.com !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Happy Friday!

Sam

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