I love old things, and I enjoy filling my home with items picked up at flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales, but I have very few things that have been passed down to me from my family. I do have my great aunt's piano and a few brass collectibles from my grandmother, but other than that I never inherited any family heirlooms. I have always longed to have things in my home that were lovingly used and cared for by someone I loved, but much of what belonged to my family was sold when I was a teenager.
My father's family homestead had been built by his family in the 1700's and had always been immaculately taken care of, not a board or shingle was out of place. The rock walls and pristine fences gently outlined the green pastures dotted with Jersey and Guernsey milk cows. Age old maple trees shaded the front lawn of the old farmhouse, and well-kept barns held stories of years gone by. The animals were treated with the utmost care and respect. Grandpa would caress and speak to each of his cows as he milked them, thanking them for the lovely milk and cream they provided daily. The barn cats enjoyed a pail full of warm milk every day, and Grandpa never passed the calf stall without letting one of them suck on his hand. Remembering Grandpa's tenderness and respect for everything in his care brings tears to my eyes as I type this.
One of my fondest childhood memories was when Grandpa called me to help him retrieve a mama cow and her newly born calf from the pasture. I was eight years old at the time and was tickled pink that Grandpa asked for my help...little eight year old me. I led the mama cow to the barn while Grandpa followed behind carrying the calf. I do believe that was one of my proudest days growing up. My second proudest day was when my uncle (Grandpa's brother) decided it was time to show me how to wash the milk dishes. I was so excited; I rolled up my sleeves, tied on the apron, stood on a stool and started washing those dishes just like my uncle had shown me...what responsibility! I couldn't have been more thrilled, until the door to the milk room opened and in walked the milk inspector. I was later told that the milk room, including the dishes, received an A+ for cleanliness.
My grandfather and great uncle were men of few words, but I spent every moment I could on the farm with them, watching them work the way their father and grandfather and great grandfather had. Much of who I am today was formed by the gentle reserve of these two men whom I loved so dearly.
Grandpa, with his old-fashioned ways, believed that when he sold the farm that it would go to hands that cared for it as much as he and my Uncle did...not so. The beautiful homestead was torn apart by real estate agents, antique dealers and auctioneers making money while taking advantage of the gentle, trusting, maybe even a bit naive, New England farmers that my relatives were.
Although the family homestead is no longer the beautiful, tranquil farm that it once was, I still hold dear the memories of that beloved old place.
My grandmother did hold on to a few things, and you can only imagine my excitement when I found out a few weeks ago that she wanted to give some of them to me. The items are nothing grand, but being able to have a few things that my dear ancestors once used on a daily basis is priceless to me.
Great Grammie's rocking chair
Great Grandpa's coffee cup
Great Grammie's china
Grandma's lace table cloth used for special occasions
Silverware (I finally have some family silver...remember this post?)
An interesting mermaid design
I even have some pieces of silver that were my great, great grandmother's, dating back to the 1800's. Her initials "E.P" are engraved on the back of the forks.
Such a unique butter knife...
The next two items were from my grandmother's family. Her father was also a farmer, but he was a truck farmer. I have one of his fruit and vegetable baskets, and my great, great grandmother's Singer sewing machine.
Like I mentioned before, none of these items probably have much monetary value, but I am so happy to have a little bit of my family's past in my home today. Thank you for letting me tell you a little about my childhood and what contributed to forming the person I am today. I hope you enjoyed your little visit and will come again soon.
linked with Thirty Hand Made Days,
linked with Thirty Hand Made Days,