Wicked Wednesday-Treasures

heirloom-454464_1920Jessie- In Maine, thinking about the past and about family

I recently popped into a local vintage shop and got to chatting with the owner who mentioned many of the delightful items on offer came to him when families offered the contents of a deceased relative’s home. As I looked around I couldn’t help but think of family heirlooms and the things I have inherited from loved ones. So, Wickeds, do you have any special possessions you have received from your own families? 

Liz: I have my grandfather’s pocket watch. I always remember him having one in his shirt pocket when I was little, and it was a true gift to be able to have this keepsake of his.

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I also have his wedding ring that my mother had created into a heart shape that I wear on a chain.

Edith: I have my grandmother Dorothy Henderson Maxwell’s travel diary from when she drove across country in 1917, and her future husband, my grandfather Allan B. Maxwell’s diaries from when he was fourteen and fifteen. These are immense treasures for their detail of daily life on these adventures. And I just discovered I also have the diary of Allison Maxwell, Allan’s father, from 1868!

Poppa and Allison's diaries

Jessie: I have a tiny little brass fire extinguisher that my great-grandfather kept on his lobster boat. When my husband and I bought our place in Maine my mother gave it to me to put on display. I love it!

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Barb: I have so much stuff from family, I had a hard time deciding what to show you all. I finally settled on the couch below. I picked it because it has been, in its quiet way, so much a part of our lives. It belonged to my father’s mother’s parents. They were interior decorators, so I always figured it was an order someone forgot to pick up. I have photos of me standing in front of it in New Rochelle, New York in the 1950s. I remember it well from my grandparents apartment on East 36th Street in New York City in the 60s. During the 70s, on my wedding day, I posed in front of it at my parents’ house in Kingston, Pennsylvania. During the 80s through the 2000s, it was at my parents’ house in Dallas, Pennsylvania. My son and my nephew were assigned to sit on it during Christmas morning present opening, so we have tons of photos. It’s really uncomfortable, which is why no one ever sits on it unless we have a full house. The last person who reupholstered it for my mother said it was meant to go in a front hallway where it would only be sat on briefly to put on or take off galoshes. I’m so happy my house in Portland, Maine has an out-of-the-way nook where it can live and where it will only be sat on during the largest of parties. The needlepoint pillows on it, (l-r) were made by my great-grandmother, my mother, and my grandmother respectively.

Julie: I have a few treasures. One is the clock that was on the hanging shelves in my grandmother’s living room. Even more treasured are the recipes and knitting patterns I inherited. She wrote notes in margins, and every time I see that handwriting I smile. Another treasure is a hutch my father made for me. It is Shaker style, and built to be a corner hutch. A family heirloom that will be passed on for sure.

Sherry: Like Barb, I have a plethora of treasures to choose from. Some I include in the Sarah Winston books like the rocking chair that was my great grandfathers and her love of vintage postcards comes from the ones I have from them. One of the things I love is a gyroscope I found in their basement. It’s in the original box with the original string and instructions. You can’t see the price in the photos but it say it was fifty cents on the bottom of the instructions. I’m not sure how old it is. But maybe Sarah should find one at a garage sale!

Readers, how about you? Do you have any special family treasures?

The Detective’s Daughter – Who Are You?

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Kim, in Baltimore, enjoying the first day of summer.
I have over one thousand photos stacked in several boxes around my office. I’ve begun to sort them into piles for other members of my family, the majority of them are of my Uncle Roy and his family. My grandmother had seven siblings (Madeleine, Leona, Thomas, Albert, Mildred and Leroy) and two step-siblings (Charles and Annie), so there are quite a few photos to go over.

For the most part, I have enjoyed sifting through them; remembering good times or seeing events from a long ago past. Because my grandmother spoke often of her family, and because I knew most of them, I was able to recognize nearly everyone in the photos.image
It was all going quickly until I came across a photo of a woman I didn’t recognize. Then there was another. Soon I had a box just for the unidentified.
I posted them on Facebook hoping someone would know them, but they remain nameless. My work table is now covered with their faces. Every night I sit staring at them, searching for any clue of who they might have been. It troubles me not knowing. Are we all so easily forgotten?
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I reexamine group photos hoping to find them in one, but I have yet to discover where they fit in with my family. There are a few I’ve made up my own stories about, others I just shuffle back into their spot. As much as I want to organize and condense the amount of things I have, I am hesitant to part with these photos. The photographs should be cherished. These people were loved and an important part of someone’s life. They must have meant a great deal to my grandmother or else she would not have kept them.image

In the evenings over the past week, I’ve gone over the photos I have personally taken and have carefully written the names, places and dates on each one. No one will be forgotten.

Readers, how do you keep your photos? Are they framed or in albums, or is everything digital now?

 

My Grandmother’s Quilts

By Sherry who is frantically trying to break out of book jail

In each of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries, something I own has ended up in the book. I’m finishing the fourth book A Good Day To Buy and in it one of my grandmother’s quilts shows up at an estate sale.

IMG_9014I’m lucky to have five quilts my grandmother made. My sister has another five. Each one was hand stitched long before I was around. I like to picture my grandmother, with friends stitching away, gossiping, and laughing — a reprieve from the long, hard days of being a farmer’s wife in rural Missouri. The picture below is my grandmother (on the right) as a young woman with one of her sisters, Armeda.

IMG_9031For a long time, my favorite quilt was the double wedding ring. It’s been on my bed, hung on the wall (don’t worry my mom made a sleeve for the back to hold the weight), or been folded at the bottom of the bed. And sometimes it’s been relegated to a shelf in the closet.

IMG_9015The detail and the border boggle my mind! All those tiny stitches, so carefully crafted, all those tiny pieces of fabric cut, and positioned.

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Then I fell in love with the feed bag quilt. The fabric came from feed bags. If I’m right one side of the bag was burlap and the other cotton. I don’t know the name of the pattern of this quilt, maybe one of you can help me out.

IMG_9018I love all of the different colors and patterns. How artistically my grandmother put them together. Here’s a close up:

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And then there’s the name quilt. Each block has someone’s name embroidered in the middle. I love to look at the names and wonder about the women who made them.

IMG_9021I recognize some. My grandmother’s name was Ursula but her nickname was Zula. I have no idea why.

IMG_9023Here’s a square by my Aunt Ginny (my dad’s sister):

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And one by my great-aunt Alberta:

IMG_9024Then there’s the two women who used their married names:

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And a couple from people I don’t know but their names (Chloe and Rowena) fascinate me:

IMG_9026IMG_9025I wish I’d asked more questions about them when I had the chance. But I treasure each one.

Readers: Do you have a family item that you treasure?