Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The things we hang on to

When my grandmother died (back in the early nineties), my father and her other children asked the grandkids to come to her house and take things we wanted.  We felt funny about it, like it would be disrespectful.  My father finally pointed out that if we didn't use her things, they'd have to sell them in an estate sale, so if there was something of hers we wanted, we should take it and that it would be better for these things to stay in the family.  So I did take a few things.  We all did, though there were no fights over her stuff, as I recall.

I took some things that were pretty and some things that were completely unromantic but very useful.

My stovetop percolator was hers.  It makes excellent coffee.  I don't drink coffee much outside of work, but when I have people over I'll put a pot on for them.  I like this much better than the drip coffee makers.

My grandmother used to serve shrimp cocktail in these glasses if we were having a special meal at her house.  When I was a kid I didn't like shrimp so she put fruit salad in mine.  (Sometimes I want to go back in time and dope slap my younger self--shrimp is delicious.)  When I first took these, I thought they were wine glasses until I remembered the shrimp and fruit cocktail.  Your blogger is not a worldly woman, readers.  If I have people over for dinner, I'll serve ice cream in one of these, or yogurt and fruit.

Yes, the silverware was hers.  Well, I think it's stainless steel ware, actually, but you know what I mean.

I love these teacups.  There is nothing like drinking tea out of a tea cup, and my nana had some good taste when it came to teacups.  I especially like the black one and that's the one my friends go for when I give them free reign to choose their cup.  Great minds think alike, eh?  My nana never broke these out.  They were in a cabinet on display, but like many people, I think she felt like she had to "save" them for special occasions.  If I could go back in time I'd tell her that porcelain doesn't go rancid if you use it for your afternoon tea and that she should enjoy that.  Then again, maybe she couldn't relax with them because she was worried they'd break.

I have a silver teapot of hers that I need to polish.  It's very pretty.  It's not very practical--I don't typically serve tea out of it--but I like it.

I have a small sugar bowl and creamer that was hers as well.

Most of the stuff I took were things that I would use every day.  I use those teacups quite regularly. There are a few things I don't use a lot--the teapot and the dessert glasses, for example--but I do use them.  And when I use her things, even if it's the humble stovetop percolator or the silverware, I think of her. If I absolutely had to get rid of things, I know that many of these things could easily go, but I can't let them go.  I think of her when I use them and I remember things about her that I would have forgotten by now.  Honestly, I'll probably hold on to these things until I'm on death's door myself.


  1. Beautiful and useful items, Pamela. We had a similar situation with my Grandmother's household belongs. I kept her Kitchenaid Mixer, Lectra Maid, cookbooks and recipe boxes. They all have such good memories attached to them. :)

  2. I love this post! I too am sentimental about some of my family member's items. I have a few candy dishes and coffee mugs that were my grandmother's and I cherish them. I can still her laughter clear as day in my mind!

  3. Your post made me think of my own late grandma. When she dies there was only 3 things wanted. Her fur coat but she had traded it in and bought a new one a couple of years before and I didn't like it. There were no memories attached to it. The big family bible, my uncle took that. And her leather bucket bag, turn out it wasn't my grandmas but my aunties. Although I don't have any items I do have lots of wonderful memories.

  4. Thank you for all of your comments!

    I also had some costume jewelry of my Nana's--and I lost one of the necklaces, which was my favorite (to this day, actually). I actually cried when I could not find it.

    A couple of years ago, when my aunt passed away, my uncle and cousins thought I should get my grandmother's ring (which my aunt had). Which was very sweet of them. I wear it every day.

    I love these things. I do. And I like using/wearing them because I then think of her when I do.

  5. Those are some nice items that you picked. And it's great that you remember her when you use them. My grandfather was a model train collector and they passed down to my father when he passed away, before I was born. I never met the man, but those trains hold a special place in my heart because it's a connection that I have with him.

  6. I have a stack of letters, notes and receipts of my Grandmas. They are annotated with little comments, such as "the last letter I ever received from Mum" or "The first time *** wrote her name (my sister)". There's also things like the receipt for her wedding and engagement rings.

    The best thing I have of hers is a little photo album she made. It's the story of how to make a wedding dress in various stages (she was making her son-in-law's sister's dress that time, but she also made my Mum's dress).

    I like the way the pages still smell of her.

  7. I like that you kept items that you use often, I did that too when emptying an old family house. Cooking in my great grandmother's crockpot is awesome, they don't make things as sturdy nowadays, and it is a great memory.

  8. You picked out exactly the same kinds of things I would have chosen! I love all things tea and so I have inherited a few teacups--my favorites are one from grandma (and it's black!) and one from my mom's best friend. I use them with my 7 year old daughter during tea parties (ok, I don't let her use my favorites yet, but when she's older I will). And yes, tea tastes best in a bona fide teacup.

    I love the stemware, too. What a great way to elevate a simple dessert (apple crisp, anyone?) into something special.

  9. I really love the glasses best of all. Those are so pretty with elaborate details. The tableware is stainless steel, but if it is from your grandmother, it is something I know you love. So, no matter if it not silver. The percolator would be nice to have, even if I don't drink coffee. You chose well, things I would chose. I never got a choice of things from my grandmothers, but I did get things years after they died.