Family Treasures

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By Whitney McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

I have kept many of the gifts my grandparents have given me. For example, my paternal grandma loves antiques and has collected many roomfuls of treasures. Occasionally when I go over to visit her, she will let me go through her antique jewelry and pick something out. I treasure these valuables because my grandma gave them to me. I also have many treasures from my Grammie (my mom’s mom). She has written me many beautiful, heartfelt letters. She has also sewn my name on towels, crocheted dish towels for me, and has given me the recipes for many of my favorite foods and desserts that she makes. When I look at the jewelry, or the towels, or even read through some of the letters I remember some of the memories I have shared with my grandmothers.

I think I am not unique in having sentiments in this area. For example here are a few excerpts, in their own words, from others who shared their thoughts on owning simple treasures from their loved ones:

When my grandfather passed away I told my mother I wanted just one treasure from my grandparents’ estate: the Toas-Tite sandwich maker. I’m sure I was the only grandchild to make this request. Out of the chaos of sorting through half a century of my grandparents’ belongings, my mother eventually unearthed my inheritance. On that day I became a rich man.  Almost sixteen inches long, with a round four-and-three-quarter-inch sandwich holder at the end, this kitchen collectible was the well-spring of hundreds of perfectly circular grilled cheese sandwiches made by my grandmother in her Cedar Rapids, Iowa, home. Manufactured sometime in the 1940s by Bar-B-Bun, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Toas-Tite has two black wooden handles held together with a metal loop on the end to keep them closed and, well, tight. The face of an almost hysterically smiling woman adorned the cover of the manufacturer’s original box. Next to the happy chef was the sales pitch: “Make a luscious sealed in hot drip prof (sic) toasted sandwich.” Prof, stood for “proof” I imagine, and “hot drips” meant lots of saturated fat. The beauty behind Toas-Tite’s unique design was the ability to make grilled cheese sandwiches, toast, and hamburgers over an outdoor campfire or, in my case, over a gas flame in Grandmother’s kitchen. …No, the treasures my grandparents passed on to me are more valuable than shares of stock and acres of land. For how do you inventory gardens, food, family, and the love of simple pleasures? Inheriting these qualities will take the rest of my life and there is no guarantee that I will succeed. No wonder that the first time I used the Toas-Tite I burned the grilled cheese sandwiches. Just as I feared — it’s not easy as it looks. – Stephen Lyons, http://www.austinmama.com/lettersfrommidlifenine.htm

What do I really treasure? Many people often paid my grandparents with silver dollars. You don’t see that any more, it’s too inconvenient to carry those big pieces of metal now. Of course you didn’t need to carry near as many of them in those days. Silver dollars are a special memory to me for another reason: they were grandma and grandpa’s savings. They put aside the silver dollars that came into the shop to purchase special things. They also used these silver dollars to give to their grandchildren on their birthdays. I still have a couple of those old silver dollars they gave me. No, they are not collector’s pieces, they are not worth a whole lot more than a dollar to anyone else, but to me they hold memories and are priceless. – http://www.heartlight.org/articles/200806/20080603_treasure.html

What heirlooms or family treasures have value in your life? Preserving these treasures can help you remember your loved ones and the times you shared with them. If you have heirlooms or special family treasures from one of your loved ones whom you never met, try learning more about them on WorldVitalRecords.com, a treasure-trove of information.

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