Over the years, my wife and I have been given many remembrances from the lives of our ancestors. My favorites have always been those that had to do with Family History in one way or another, however some little knick knacks that bring back memories aren’t far behind.
You know how it as been in your own lives. The site of grandma’s favorite porcelain figurine that caught your eye as a child now brings back whole chapters of stories and memories from your childhood visits to her home. Grandpa’s well worn hammer that always hung above his work bench brings back memories of the sound of the ‘Taaangg’ when it flattened metal and ‘Thunnkks’ when it drove the nail home in a final swing. A knarled hand is attached to the handle with an old work shirt covering the arm to with it is attached.
The mementos have value to us that far exceeds their material worth. They are real, tangible items that validate the truthfulness of our memories.
While some mementos are wonderful, when are too many too much?
Years ago, my wife’s family gave her a dozen of the old hand powered tools found on rural farms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that were owned by her great grandfather. Not a wealthy man, the tools were well worn and in most cases even significantly damaged by use and the years.
We don’t use tools like them now and may have been of value today had their condition been better and if we lived on a farm or at least had a large urban property that grace the lives of fortunate urban farmers today.
We lived in a modest home at the time and storage room was at a premium. Where could we store these mementos until we had a use for them either for actual repair and use or for display? We weren’t sure but we knew we wanted them …. at least we felt that way for a while until both of us had stumbled over them and had moved them more times that we wanted to count.
My uncle and his son opened a new themed restaurant at that time and we decided that they would look great on the walls above its tables. We knew he would treat them with reverence because they brought back memories from his youth as well.
After a few years, his health declined and eventually they had to sell the restaurant. With it went our mementos. We hated to see them go to an unknown person but still didn’t have the space to store them ourselves.
Twenty years later, wall space was readily available in our new home to present them for the enjoyment of our children and grandchildren but they were long gone.
How much ‘stuff’ do you keep as mementos from your ancestors? When is a figurine, hanky, tie pin, ring or set of knitting needles enough? When is a hand held hay scythe too much? How about the ballpeen hammer with the green handle or the old wall mirror with the silver flaking off the back of the glass?
The answer is unique to each of us and to the likes and dislikes of our spouse. When is a cool old tool, one tool too much?