Family History Thrown Away
Losing an elderly family member is difficult, let alone dealing with the artifacts they accumulated over the years. Stifling through photographs, clothes, and other personal memorabilia once cherished may trigger nostalgia. The pride your grandfather had for his World War II medals and your grandmother’s fine china set that she set out for holidays and special occasions. Each time telling the history of their collections. It takes me back to a time when I were so clueless and took those moments for granted.
Oh, what I’d do for one more 24 hours with my grandparents. First I would listen and listen some more about the days when supplying food for your family was a struggle. I would want to hear of the coal boat ride from Ireland to Louisiana, about my great-grandfather winning the medallion his daughter so proudly wore around her neck from winning the World Soccer Cup and stories of my grandfather playing the harmonica and my grandmother tap dancing. I want to hear their thick Irish accents again.
On my continuous search for vintage things I look at an auction site and can’t help but wonder the stories behind the treasures. Better yet, the story of why these items are being auctioned off. Sadly that’s an easy answer. Greed. Adult children unable to reach an agreement in terms of splitting the items up or preference of money over antiques. The decisions ultimately come down to the will, who has the best attorney and other contributing factors that determine what is done with family heirlooms. The monetary value of these treasured trinkets seems more important than the lives that were laid on the line.
War medals and uniforms for example. I could never get rid of something of that nature had my mother or father fought in a war. My brother and sister, on the other hand, could care less about like that. All of my grandparents passing has happened within 13 short years and I am sad to say while I was around I wasn’t present. I was inebriated. That holds no bearings as they were not my parents and I had no say over what stayed or went but my parents did. My Ma would keep things of her fathers and my dad, the narcissistic, egotistical asshole that he is (We don’t get along if you can’t tell), had my grandparent’s belongings sold in order to gain more money than he was already entitled to. It was his parents that were immigrants. It was his parents who held the stories of our life in America and it was him who threw it all away. And for what? The all mighty dollar.
A common theme I have noticed is that women hold onto items as a concrete reminder and men seldom become emotionally attached… to anything! Ok, I am being a man-hater, I apologize to the men reading this! This holds true with my family. My father allowed our family history to be traded without considering the sweat and tears behind much of the belongings. My mother held onto what was left of her father’s pride, his treasures. However, this isn’t every instance as I am sure some men cherish their families relics.
The purpose of this post isn’t to debate who does what as much as it is to say this… Don’t sell your family history for monetary gain. Unite as a family and have pride in what your parents earned. Split items up and hand them down with the stories through the generations. You never know who in your family it will empower. Recreate the memories of your parents with your children. Be proud of who you are and remember how you got there. Someone worked hard to give you what you had growing up and their efforts do not need to be auctioned away and discarded.