Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Artifacts of a Lifetime

After Mom's funeral service and lunch at church, we went to Terri's home to look over what was left of Mom's belongings.   Her good china, a collection of "limited edition" plates, various other dishes, her dolls, some Hummel figurines, many photos and scrapbooks, and journals were scattered on a table and the floor.  Terri was eager to clear things out. 

I'm at a stage in my life where I am trying to purge our own belongings.  I took a few photos of our own family and of Jim as a child and a few plates along with their "certification"  that I could pass on to our children as Mom had requested.

Jeff photographed the display and sent it to Susan who thought she would like the blue Delft cups and candles.  Both Dan and Jeff took a few of the old photos.  Dan was intrigued with some of Mom after she had infantile paralysis as a child--relating it to the work Google had done in polio eradication. 

There was a scrapbook made by Mom's mother in the 1930s full of inspirational sayings and clippings cut out of various papers.  Would anyone would find that valuable as a historical record? 

Terri wondered if it was an invasion of privacy to read Mom's journals. Mom had said to burn her letters from Dad.  Maybe I will offer to go over the journals and record parts that would be of value to her children.   As it is, we have over 30 of Dad's journals downstairs that could be donated to the center at Calvin for church history.   We've looked them over briefly and found them very factual without much emotion expressed at all. 

I look at our belongings.  Every painting or photograph on our walls has meaning to me.  Nothing is merely decorative.  Almost every one is a piece of original art or a photograph of a place I loved.  But would our children find value in any of it?  I brought Dan around to see each piece--and then burned his French toast while doing so! 

Who is going to want my wedding dress let alone other sentimentally favorite garments hanging in the upstairs closets?  Who will want our books and records and travel memorabilia?  Our dozens of photo albums? 

My journals have so many good memories in them--but also so much angst because I often wrote for therapy.  I have begun to purge them but it is not an easy exercise to do so.  All the letters from pre-email days--who is going to care about those? 

I guess I better just enjoy our things now because they too may be of little value to anyone else someday. 

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