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.
The Oak Sideboard
This sideboard always sat in my grandparents house way before my mother was born. It originally must have part of a bedroom set as there once was a mirror attached. It possibly came from one of their parents – back then, and often like today, when you married you used pieces your parents owned until you could afford to buy.
After my mother married and moved to Perry, the bureau left the farm and took on a transformation into a sideboard in our home. The mirror with wooden frame was deteriorating, so off it came – mama brought it back to life and began using it as a sideboard in her dining room in Perry.
I have many memories of the sideboard in our home at 1321 Smoak Avenue – it sat in the dining room and held many treasures.
Mama reminds me of the jar of wheat and zinc pennies she collected and kept in a drawer in that sideboard. She reminds me of the time she found the jar empty! Now why would she ask me if I knew what happened to them? Well, I had an answer for her – they had become my bank to withdraw from when the ice cream truck came. I guess my ice cream days reached an end at that time! If she collected anymore after that, she must have found a better hiding place from her snooping daughter.
I wish I had owned a camera when we lived in that house on Smoak Avenue – but in my mind, I can still see every room and see exactly where that sideboard sat in the dining room. Why can’t they make an app for memories, so we could print?
Grandmamma’s bread bowl, featured in a previous Heirloom post, always sat on top of the sideboard. Inside was a flower arrangement mama made out of driftwood collected in Miami, Fla. There were flowers attached to the wood, made from nylons. She used color remover on the nylons, which reverted them back to their original colors; nylon pieces were twisted around a wire shaped flower petal. Eventually several were put together, with silk flowers added and a flower was formed. The driftwood pieces looked like they actually were growing flowers, and everyone wanted one. Mama said they all wanted, but no one wanted to buy. My mother was quite the crafter, and still is today. There isn’t anything she couldn’t make, if she wanted it.
Besides the missing penny jar in the sideboard, the drawers also held embroidered dollies, tablecloths and family papers. If only I could close my eyes and browse back through those drawers, I probably could discover even more heirlooms.
The sideboard made many moves with my family and it returned full circle back to the farm when my parents divorced. It remained there until I brought it home, and now it holds our family treasures.
Today it resides in my sons home; both of my children have shared it and passed to the other when one rearranged their furniture style.Who knows, the next move may be back to my house. I never knew years ago that it originally was part of a bedroom set, as its classic style always looked like a sideboard to me; my daughter changed the knobs from the original hardware. If it comes back to me, I think I’ll replace the hardware bales back to its original bales or buy new ones.
Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to read more stories…
© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco