Memories impart value. (See Here.) Recently, I pondered how stories are secondhand memories, and therefore, also impart value.
When my uncle showed me his train set, he told how he had constructed certain components—including failed attempts. Certain cars and scenes represented events in his life. The hobby also provided a distraction when he was depressed. His stories drove me to find appreciative new owners after he passed.
Many of my uncle’s possessions, which I inherited, had neither memories nor stories. Who used the antique butter churn? What was the origin of the cast iron coffee table? My brother recognized the cast iron cobbler’s stands and shoe forms as residing on my grandparents’ hearth before their death, but who used them?
With limited time and space, memories—both firsthand and secondhand—drove decisions. Based on my brother’s recognition, the cobbler stands made the trip to my home. Later research showed that my great-great-grandfather was a shoemaker.
Along the way, I learned I must tell others my stories about heirlooms. And ask for stories so I can make better decisions in the future. *
Are you curious about an heirloom?
*I’m perusing The Stories We Leave Behind by Laura Gilbert.