37, college grad, 2x married, one son, one stepdaughter, four cats, one idiot dog, one very small house and small garden.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

She touched it

Yesterday we went through a buffet cupboard that contained items that belonged to my recently deceased grandmother. My mother and I looked at countless things that were once used and admired by her, my Great-Grandma Lulu, and my Great Grandmother Rodgers. The point of the exercise was to divide the items between my sister and I. I thought the task would be difficult and that we might fight over some of them. But in the end it was easy. I took all the ugly stuff.

Let me explain. I have a sense of history that a lot of people may not enjoy. I am grateful for this 'seventh' sense. To be honest, I care less about the functionality of an item or the beauty of same, provided that there is something behind it. I can look at an incredibly horrible looking thing and see the beauty in it based on its history alone. Let me give you a case in point.

One of the items is I chose to keep was a vase owned by my Grandmother Jane. It is squat and bilious yellow. I has blobs on it that are supposed to look like fruit but instead look like multi-colored boogers. It is easily one of the most hideous things I have ever seen. But I chose to keep it because my grandma touched it. I don't care what it looks like. It is a part of her, and hence, a part of me. She liked it (I have NO idea why) , and she used it, so it has importance to me.

My sister got her share of 'ugly' stuff, too. I managed to foist the ice cream cups off on her, and an impossible to polish silver breadbasket. But she felt much the same way I did about the history of the items; it mattered not so much to her whether she would ever use the ice cream cups, as it did that they had once belonged to our grandmother.

That's the best sort of inheritance. The inheritance of history; the handing down of continuity. Someday, when I am very much older than I am now, I'll take all those objects and pass them on to my son with an eplanation of where they came from and their importance. He is the fifth generation of my family born in this country, and we have managed to maintain 100 years of family history simply by passing along our treasured objects. I wouldn't give up that sense of belonging for any amount of money. Money is transitory, but a good ugly vase with a history is forever.


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