SidevieW has returned after leave of absence to offer posting themes again, and the current one is ‘Family Heirlooms’.

Heirlooms. 019    This picture features some of ours, from fairly modern, like the Family Bible from 1901 and the god figures brought from India by my mother in the early 1900s, to more ancient ones of grandparents with some greats added, like the spoon from about 1850 and the Georgian silver pieces from the 1700s.  We also have another bible going back to 1863 (first entry), but it is a bit delicate and we disturb it as seldom as possible.
  We have other fascinating inherited things, but cannot be sure whether they were passed on to our parents, or simply acquired by them.

    When it comes to figuring out who to  bequeath cherished heirlooms to, it can be a bit of a dilemma.   I get annoyed when I find family bibles like ours in antique book stores, where a study of the entries makes it quite clear that there must be many living descendants who should be treasuring them.
   My feeling is that normal precedence of age or sex should be cast aside in favour of practical considerations of who is most likely to preserve heirlooms in the family: 

When some heirlooms are expensive,
Interest in them is extensive,
And relatives will flock around
Before you’re properly in the ground!
The trick, with every cherished thing,
Is to assess in whom they’ll bring
A sense of heritage and age
With which that person will engage,
And not go rushing, filled with greed,
To sell them off at greatest speed;
I always think it rather sad
When articles a family’s had
For generations, by the score,
Are in that family no more;
The modern era makes it tough
For holding on to bigger stuff,
But no excuse can be to show
For letting tiny items go,
And doing so one never ought
Or ancestry will count for naught.

© February 2013 Colonialist (WordPress)


About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Challenge, Colonialist, verse, writing, music composition, fantasy, Africa, journal., Genealogy, Personal Journal, Poems, Really Awful Rhyme and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Hudson Howl says:

    I think you nailed it. Things should go to those whom one believes the items holds the most importance to in terms of memories or personal connection. I too have seen those Bibles for sale for a buck or two, The ancestral trees in the back of bibles is truly interesting and catches the imagination, but is so so sad to see them as a cast away

    My mother suggests from time to time to take this an that. But I shrug it off. My brother and sister have taken a few things on her prompting, which am fine with. To be truthful, I have what I want already, I have the memories. And if when the time comes if I get some photographs I’ll be more than happy.

    In my case, am not sure will happen to my shtufffs as I have no children. Oh well when the time comes and the lights are out it won’t be on my mind.

    BTW, this is my first time here. I followed the bread crumbs via sideviews heirloom theme. I’ll be back.


    • colonialist says:

      It is particularly sad for those, because a Bible with hatches, matches and dispatches in it seems such a personal family thing.
      Might be an idea to track the interests of cousins and things to pass good stuff on to?
      I have noted you around, but not clicked as I am about to do, particularly if you are going to do an Arnie! 🙂


  2. The Asian says:

    We have absolutely no heirlooms. It could be possible that whatever there is, is still in Taiwan with my grandparents though…


  3. Your pictured heirlooms are so very nice. I do understand your feelings about family Bibles. I have several very old ones that once belonged to previous generations. I struggle a bit with how to absorb family mementos, heirlooms large and small, into my home, yet I’m very sentimental and can hardly handle the idea of anything being given away. You’ve got me thinking tonight! Great poem, and a thoughtful post.


    • colonialist says:

      It does need some thought about whether a safe haven has been found for treasured things. I mean, if one steps absent-mindedly under a bus tomorrow, will they be preserved? Not that it should matter to the under-bus-ee, but actually it does give a good feeling to know that certain things will carry on.


  4. melouisef says:

    Sometimes children of this age do not appreciate and therefore it lands up somewhere foreign


  5. So true. And well said~


  6. adeeyoyo says:

    Our family didn’t treasure any old things and I am sure there were none. I myself had an antique tea set, but that too has gone with the wind. When moving house or with my divorce I didn’t have much space to keep anything other than the ‘bare necessities’ – just as well though, because I don’t want to be owned by anyTHING.


    • colonialist says:

      It is nice to have some treasures, but I know what you mean about being ‘owned’ by things. Like these houseproud people whose homes are thoroughly uncomfortable because everything is always kept ‘just so’.


  7. nrhatch says:

    Lovely collection, Col. You’re right about leaving the items to the person who is most likely to treasure them . . . and have space for them if they are large items.


  8. SidevieW says:

    We have a few, and are sad some disappeared, like china cups that had been fixed ny my great grandfather. Other people taking family treasures!


  9. adinparadise says:

    My family weren’t at all sentimental about passing on stuff. My gran had some amazing carvings and vases brought back from China after the war. We all loved them, and one day, without telling anyone, she just sold them to a secondhand dealer for next to nothing. The oldest item we have is an antique clock presented to Chris’s grandfather, which we rescued from SiL’s cellar in Ireland. I doubt that either of my kids would want it though. It wouldn’t go with the decor. 😦


  10. 68ghia says:

    I have so much inherited stuff in my house – Langenhoven’s collective works from my father, a whole lot of tins from my gran, furniture, little salt and pepper shakers, furniture.
    I can’t see myself ever selling any of them, but then again, I doubt they’re worth much money. But the memories they carry are priceless.
    I think I must take a picture of the Bible that my great grand mom proclaimed to be handed down to the females in the family with the same names. And now there are no more females to carry on the tradition…
    Sad actually.


  11. newsferret says:

    Reminds me of the 60s when the big fashion amongst the girls was the hairloom!


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