When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, then they often become items that are tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and memories so your treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.
Friday Night Family Heirlooms: telling their stories…
Grandmama McKinley’s Butter Churn and more…
Grandmamma McKinley’s butter churn sits in my kitchen today, where it has sat for many years; and before it sat in my grandmother’s kitchen for as long as my mother can remember – going back to the log cabin in Siloam, Georgia, where she was born.
If this churn could talk – what tales it could tell. It would tell me about the log cabin, and where it sat in the kitchen corner – next to grandmamma’s cream bucket. The bucket held extra cream that was sold to a man who came around just to buy cream – it would tell of the whipping my mama received after she decided it would be fun to take a cream bath – in the cream bucket – oh my! Mama remembers her mother selling extra cream and using the saved money to buy her brother, Leroy, his high school class ring. It was always the extra cream saved that seemed to be grandmamma’s pocket money for special “un-necessaries.”
It would tell the tale of how often mama complained about her chore of having to churn the cream that made the butter. Just look at that worn handle – it shows the proof of how often it was used. If you wanted butter – you made it – no one ran to the store or had the extra money to splurge on things you could make yourself.
Whenever my grandfather visited family – he always brought butter, along with eggs and probably a piece of ham. And he always complained about being asked to bring the butter, but he brought it. Mama laughs when she remembers the times readying to leave for a family visit – her father walked back and forth grumbling as he packed the wagon or car with the butter, eggs, ham and probably more. I can just picture my grandfather muttering under his breath.
Two wooden butter molds were also passed down to me along with the butter churn; wish I had memories of actually seeing the butter on the table that had been formed in the molds, but probably by the time I was born, they were now buying the butter in the store; but grandmamma never threw away her churn and molds.
I even have the pressed glass dish and cover that held the butter on the table and the syrup pitcher they used; it probably poured sorghum syrup. Thank You grandmamma for saving them – they are priceless to me!
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© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco