Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family Heirlooms (Part 2)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I received some "heirlooms" from my Aunt in Germany. Things that used to belong to my German grandmother and grandfather. Nothing very exciting, embroidered handkerchiefs, glasses and leather glass cases, wallets and change purses, bottles of my grandmother's perfume, stuff like that.

I decided to take all of it with me to KY and give it to my mother. I felt as if it should have been given to her and it wasn't really my place to keep it from her or make the decision of who gets what. Despite having thought about it and discussed it 9and knowing it was the right thing to do) I was nervous about how it would go. I didn't want to upset her, remind her of all the bad stuff surrounding why she didn't have anything in the first place, or find out that I had made things worse between her and my aunt by accepting these things.

It actually went very well. I decided to get it over with early, so I brought the two bags out the first night. I figured if she got mad, that would give me time to smooth things over. Instead, she looked at some of the things but actually didn't appear too interested. She said I should keep everything and share it with my siblings. She said if she kept it, it would only go in a box for us to go through when she died. Her one comment that showed it got to her a bit was stating that most of the stuff was essentially "junk" and didn't cost my aunt anything to share it with me. She rhetorically asked, "where's the jewelry? Where are the Krugerrands? Where are the things that might have lasted and/or been worth something?" Alas, I am quite sure those things were sold years ago...

I took everything over to my younger sister's house on my way out of KY. We spent some time going through it and she picked a couple things she wanted to keep. Since she has a 2-year old and another on the way, she didn't want to take anything that could be broken or destroyed by little hands. When I see my older sister, hopefully this summer, we'll go through it all again and see if she wants any of it. I'm not sure what I'll do about my brother. I have something from my grandfather that I really would like to keep, but I think it would be nice for my brother to have (most of the other stuff is kind of "girly"). I guess I'll hold onto it until he is ready for it, or at the very least we have enough of a relationship that we can see each other face to face and/or he won't return a letter/package I send him.

Speaking of relationships, in a previous post I discussed how neither my older sister nor younger brother were talking with me. While I was in KY, my sister called and we talked for two hours! She also called twice while I was driving home. Hopefully, this will keep up. We have tentatively planned for her to visit me here and for me to go to MN to help her pack up the house before she moves. I'm keeping my fingers crossed (makes typing difficult...) that one or both visits happen. In addition, since my brother is not talking with me, I didn't even think of letting him know I would be in town. When he spoke with my mother and step-father, he asked both of them how come they hadn't told him. I'm taking that as progress. Maybe when I go back for Mother's Day, I'll get to see him and we'll see if he is ready to bury the hatchet. Druck die Daumen! (crossing the fingers German style - which is actually, "press your thumbs"...)


  1. Family is so important, as you can tell from my post I wrote. Thanks for your wonderful words and I'm glad you got some family heirlooms of your own to enjoy!

  2. Sam,

    Great news that it went well although the sour grapes must not have been much fun to witness. Your decision proves the point that only you can decide what is best for you to do since you know best the dynamics of the family. Glad you had a safe and productive trip as well. Welcome back!

    Now uncross those fingers and get busy... your public is waiting for more.