How Will We Know?
My husband’s mother felt great attachment to family belongings. She loved and treasured things handed down from previous generations. Pieces of furniture. China. Book ends. Clocks. Costume jewelry. Tablecloths. Linen napkins. Any of it. Everything had a story. That was Grandma Kate’s favorite chair. That darling little mug belonged to Uncle Alton. That statue was my mother’s favorite. She was fond putting actual labels on things, noting to whom the article belonged and what their relationship was. She was determined things stay in the family, and my husband was an only child. As she got older, it became more and more difficult to tell her no and consequently, we ended up with a lot of stuff we didn’t want. Our grown children have no interest in antiques so my answer has been to find people who appreciate these things and re-home them. Maybe my husband’s mother felt the way she did because she came to this country as a small child, had little family, and married into one with deep roots, I don’t know. I’m in the middle of the audio reading of “The Grapes of Wrath”. When the Joad family packs up to leave Oklahoma for California, they have thirteen people and a dog crowded into and on top of their truck. They look at what they own, trying to decide what they can take with them. “How will we know it’s us without our past?” laments the grandmother, as piece after piece is left behind. I wonder if that’s how my mother-in-law looked at it.