January 31, 2010

Honouring Heirlooms

Something I've been thinking about lately is the human tendency to pack cherished heirlooms, fancy things, or nice gifts away to save them for a 'special' occasion or to use with guests.  

In our student days, Hus and I used a bunch of really cheap silverware he bought by the piece in a clearance bin at Zellers when he moved out of his mom's at the age of 19.  I think he paid a dime a piece.  It was of really poor quality, and some of the forks and spoons had ragged edges which caught on your lips as you ate.  For all those years, however, I had a set of real silver silverware I inherited from my Oma packed away.  It was not all that old; probably from the 1960s. But my mom tells me that it was a popular brand and pattern in Germany (actually my other Oma had it as well).  

Despite having it packed away we continued to use the crap.  When I became employed I looked around for a good set of silverware but was paralyzed at the thought of choosing a pattern to use for the rest of my life.  I'm not sure how I finally decided to use my Oma's silverware for everyday dining, but I did.  And we've never looked back.  Using it daily means that I never have to polish it, and the forks and knifes have a solid weight that gives some gravitas to dining.  The spoons are of a particularly nice size for soups.

When I was visiting one of my sisters in the Lower Mainland last week, she showed me Oma's watch that she inherited.  It is a delicate gold wind-up watch.  My sister was looking for a nicer watch than the one she regularly wears, and I encouraged her to wear this one, since she already has it and it means something. It seems a fitting way of honouring an heirloom. She feared it might be broken, but winded it up and it worked.  While she was busy, I quickly took a picture of it (on my wrist).


We couldn't make out the name on the watch, but it looks like the manufacturer is Bergen. Again, it probably is not particularly old or valuable.  But it is better worn and cherished than shut away in a dark drawer.


Anonymous said...

I love this. Mr. Savvy and I use his parents' old Thanksgiving china for our every day dining. Other than that, we don't own a lot of heirlooms you would pack away. Hm... I'll have to take another look around the house.

Carpe Diem said...

Wow! I never I thought I would see Oma's watch again! I can remember her getting ready in the mornings and putting it on. I'm almost in tears. I didn't know middle sister even had it!

It is weird to think that we have items we could use, but they are tucked away unseen because they are 'too good' or 'too valuable' to use so instead these items live a meaningless life.

Reduce, Reuse and Rummage said...

Simple Savvy - that's great. China for china's sake seems kind of useless. I'm sure his parents would appreciate it.

Carpe Diem - Middle Sister also has your old charm bracelet from when you were a kid! I bet you haven't seen that for awhile.

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Lovely post! I always think it's amazing how much stuff people have packed away, never look at it, never use it, fill up the garage with it and park the multi-thousand dollar cars outside. We used to be packrats too, but now we use our stuff, or move it out!