Friday, October 14, 2011

What to do with "priceless" family heirlooms

My parents have passed away. My father "went to his reward" in 2007 and my mother died two years later. My sister proceeded them in death by many years. So that leaves just me. 

Just me to sort through all their stuff. I want to say crap...because that's what a lot of it was...crap. No one would consider the old avocado green phone an heirloom. Nor would the plastic caricature figurine of General Patton cause anyone to call Sotheby's. 

I have no problem knowing what to do with that sort of stuff. Some of it gets tossed in the trash, of course, and some of it goes to the donation pile. But what do you do with the stuff that makes the memories start flooding back? Or the stuff that you know was precious?

What do I do with my mother's wedding gown? I can't exactly put it in a scrapbook. And I've already got two of my own wedding gowns hanging in the closet. There is no grand daughter to hand it off to (I had a boy). And Mom had an 18 inch waist, the chances of anyone ever fitting into it are slim (no pun intended.)

What do I do with the 30" oil paintings my mother had made. They show my father in his Air Force uniform just after he retired and my mother is in her finest white sequined cocktail dress. They are enormous and I don't have a wall to hang them on. (Even if I wanted them staring down on me.) Besides...oil paintings ...not really my style. I love the fact that they are portraits of my parents when they were younger then I am now...but I don't really want them. Do you suppose that this is why some of those antique photos end up in the antique stores, unloved and unwanted? And yet still...I can't bear to part with them...and if I could what would I do with them? Who would take them...they can't go to strangers...but there is no family left. I go round and round like this. Then I think that someday my son might want them. Yeah, maybe. Till then what do I do with's not like I can store them in the garage...they're oils.

And then there is my son's stuff. I'm not talking about the 69 Camero piece of junk littering my driveway. I'm talking about his first stuffed toy, his cute little drawings he made me when he was 5 or 6 years old, his cub scout uniform, his first karate uniform, his first dance recital costume...what do I do with this stuff?

Not to mention that my mother had my baptism dress and my son's baptism suit mounted and framed in HUGE shadow boxes. (We're talking 40 x 40) No wall ...remember.  And again...not my style. But again, I can't scrapbook them. 

I'm beginning to understand why priceless family heirlooms are always found stashed away in a trunk in the attic. I think that would be the answer...if I had an attic.