Monday, March 9, 2009


A friend once told me that after her Mother passed away, she and her sisters were going through her cedar chest. Wrapped in blue tissue paper and tied with a ribbon was a bent table knife. None of the daughters knew the story of the knife or why it was so special. She determined that she would not make the same mistake and that her children would know the history of items that were special to her.

We have many things that are special. Family heirlooms, personal trinkets that I hope our children will think are special enough to save and pass to their children. My goal is to catalog them with their history over the next year or two.

As my mother and mother-in-law age I hope we have the presence of mind to know what they would want us to save and treasure and what to turn loose.

Susanna Holstein had a beautiful post in January on I reprint it with her permission.

Granny's Front Porch

By Susanna Holstein

Memories for Sale

It was an estate sale, with boxes of old dishes, fabric scraps, and Christmas decorations piled on tables. Most items had no price tags.

I found a pretty dish, covered with years of dust, and a small ironstone platter - a plain beauty. Well-used and sturdy, it was the kind of dish you might use for everyday. Two women approached the table, apparently noticed that there were several people gathered there inspecting the merchandise.

"Can you tell me the prices on these?" I asked. One woman turned to the other.

"Sis, what do you think? Is that dish old? We can't tell," she said apologetically. Some of it was Mom's and Grandma's and is all mixed in. That platter, now that was Grandma's. Remember, Sis, she'd cook sausage and put it on that platter and just set it on the woodstove. I'd be there until noon dinner for anyone who wanted it. No one worried whether it was safe to eat." Her eyes clouded. "We can't keep it all. It's just the two of us, and we don't have room for it.

She looked helplessly at the piles around her. "Dad brought that little bowl to Mom from Germany, after World War II. I'd keep it for my kids, but they aren't interested in old stuff like that.

Yesterday morning I cooked sausage patties and placed them carefully on the little platter on my stove. The crystal dish is on my counter, filled with green grapes. The sisters sold the dishes to me, letting go of the memories they held. The platter and bowl, with their stories of a country woman cooking for her family and a war bride welcoming home the soldier who came bearing pretty gifts, came to live with me.

And so storytelling goes. This tale now passes from me to you. Perhaps there is something in it that will inspire you to tell it to someone else. Or perhaps you will find an old dish in your cupboard and remember the story of how it came to be there. Pass it on. It will be worth telling.

Thank you "Granny Sue" for allowing me to reprint this post.

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