Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Keeper of the Past
I have always felt that I had at least one mission in my life - keeper of my family's past. I know a lot of minimalists who would think I was "bonkers" for holding on to a lot of the things that I have. I will agree, it makes the chore of dusting my house a lot more complicated. I was once told by a co-worker that she wanted no pictures on her walls and only a lamp and one other item on her tables. She said it made cleaning her house so much easier. I will have to agree with that. But, on the other hand, I feel a deep connection to my family, both past and present, when I see keepsakes that belonged to them. I have collected and preserved bits and pieces of my family and Clark's family since we have been married. I used those keepsakes, to a large extent, as props for telling stories to my children and grandchildren about their family. When I told stories of my grandmother churning butter, I showed them her butter churn. When I told them how sewing machines used to run by petal power, not electricity, I showed them the old Singer Sewing machine. I felt that they could feel more of a connection to their roots by being able to touch the items that those family members had touched. When my grandmother passed away, I went to her auction and purchased many of her belongings. When my mother passed away, I couldn't bring myself to sell her precious keepsakes, so I divided things among the family and my home became a little more crowded. I saved the outfit that both of my children came home from the hospital in and gave it to them when they became parents. We saved my son's little boy scout shirt for him and a gun rack that he built in school. I even have a pair of my pink baby shoes. I have a chest with my mother's broochs that she treasured. Sometimes I enjoy just sitting down and looking at them and remembering her wearing them. I have an old Nativity Scene that Mom displayed in her first grade school room every year. An older teacher gave it to my mom when she retired from teaching and Mom used it in her classroom for many years after that. I enjoy displaying that in my home. I hope at least one of my children assume the role of "Keeper of the Past" when I have finished my turn. The picture above is one of my mother in her college days before she was married. I proudly display her photo in our family room. The book belonged to my mother and she has written her maiden name inside. When I was a small child, I carefully wrote my name just below hers. What about your family? Do you have a "Keeper of the Past" to preserve your family's memories? If not, how about becoming one yourself?