"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heirloom Party!

Hi everybody! Marie @ Emma Calls Me Mama invited me to her Celebrating Heirlooms party. I'm big on tradition & heirlooms so of course I had to come.

I'm going to start w/ the oldest heirloom I have. I don't know the exact age of this lace fan but it was my great-grandmother's & she died before my father was born. He was born in '28 .... so late 18th century, early 19th century. My grandmother framed it many, many years ago & it hung on her wall for as long as I can remember but when she moved into an assisted living home, she gifted it to me.

I believe in displaying my heirlooms...even the smalls. Inside this apothecary jar is a lace doily crocheted by my maternal grandmother, Memaw. I have very few of her things so I treasure what I have. I have a vintage tablecloth, her recipes & this doilie bearing her name. She lived clear across Texas from us so we didn't have as close a relationship as I did w/ my other grandmother. Most of my memories of her are after I became a grandmother myself, when she moved into a nursing home here in the metroplex. Sharing the jar are 2 handwritten recipes of my paternal grandmother....orange marmalade & watermelon pickles.

This purse was my Mam-Mah's (my paternal grandmother)....she needlepointed it herself. Next to it is a picture of Mam-Mah w/ the same purse.

Mam-Mah did a lot of needlepointing. She did all her dining room chairs (wonder who got those!), a rocker (I was lucky enough to receive it...she rocked my father, me & all my kids in it but it's in storage right now) & this bell pull. It's been eaten up by moths or something though as it's missing some yarn.

My husband's grandfather was an entrepeneur & had many business endeavors. We were lucky to have scored the signs that hung in his businesses. This one actually reads "no dogs or cats" but I changed that w/ pics of my dogs. Gizzy (shih tzu on the right) is no longer w/ me but I can't bear to take his picture down.

Another one of his signs.

This was a lucky, lucky find! After Papa's death, hubby was helping to clean out his garage & Papa was using this old sign bearing the family name, upside down as a shelf. Hubby is soo proud of it!

I've talked about my porcelain birds before ...hubby's grandmother collected them & left them to me because of our shared love of birds. I have many more that I don't have out right now...ducks, a pheasant, roadrunner, baby chicks, etc. but I only display the ones that work for me @ the time.

I shared that same love of birds w/ my Mam-Mah. This peacock reminds me of her because she had a live pair on her farm. They made such an eerie sound at night sometimes.

Love this tiny jay...he's only about 2" tall.

This oriole feeding his young is very old.

I treasure this old letter from my grandfather, Colonel, written to my father when he was 16. It's the only thing of Colonel's that I have. I keep it in a glass display case...next to it are my father's cuff links that he wore when I was a little girl. I can remember loving the sparkly blue gems.

It's dated 1945 & Colonel was away fighting the war. Dad was in his formative teen years...a hard time to be w/out a father. In it Colonel advices, "All dads have to give advice you know, so I am going to give you mine. Take advantage of your time... work while you work, play while you play. Pass up no opportunity to improve your mind & your body". Later on he goes on to say "The person that knows everythng you do is yourself, so guide your actions such that your own self will be pleased. So that you can say to your self in the mirror, 'you have done nothing cheap, little or mean' & you will be proud". He goes on w/ other wise council & idle chit chat & finishes it off with "One more bit of advice & then I will stop the lecture. Be straight forward in all of your dealings, establish a reputation as a square shooter, that will overshadow many minor faults one might have."

He was a fine, fine man & I miss him so. He always seemed larger than life...he was huge, his hands were huge, his voice was huge but he sure knew how to make a little girl feel special & treasured.

here's the poststamp on the letter.

The most valuable heirloom I have is this ruby & diamond pin that was my Mam-Mah's.

But my most treasured family heirloom is this book, written by my grandmother about her life. I just wish she had bound it in any other color than red. ;o) Wait! It JUST occured to me that I should recover it in something nostalgic....a collage sheet w/ pics of Mam-Mah, copies of recipes, etc.

Mam-Mah was a very interesting, accomplished woman. She was vice-president of the DAR, she was crowned "Texas Mother of the Year" in 1975, she traveled abroad extensively & she did a stint as a Washington socialite when my grandfather was appointed to the cabinet. But don't misunderstand, this book is not a fascinating read. LOL My grandmother was very talented at many things but writing was not one of them (she paid to have the book published & she only published enough copies for her descendants). Plus she wrote the book when she was nearing 100 & even though her mind was still sharp as a tack, it still tended to wander. In the same paragraph, she'll jump forward & flashback between the decades. It's a hard, exhausting read but ohhhh, how I treasure it.

See how shaky that handwriting is? She kept a note taped to her front door that read "Have gun & I'm not afraid to use it". Seeing that written in a shaky, old-lady script was probably enough to deter any burglar. *grins*

Inside I keep some mementoes...a rose from her casket & her obituary notice.
A birthday card given to me on my 16th birthday. She was such a wise woman & had this advice to offer a young girl...."The 16th birthday comes to every one just once in a lifetime and it's a milestone to prove our worth to our fellow man. It's sweet 16 time for girls and a warning to us all that it is time to take stock in our lives and see where we hope to go and what we hope to accomplish in the time our Blessed Lord has allotted us on Earth . My wish for you is a long, happy, useful life full of the joys of many friends & loved ones. And a feeling of satisfaction in your own abilities-which are many. God bless you, much love"

Oh how I miss that woman! She was such a wonderful role model...both as a woman, a citizen & as a mother & grandmother. She made a huge impact on all 16 of her grandchildren....I think each one of us would count her's as one of the most influential relationships of our life.

Also inside the book is my favorite picture of my father & my grandmother dancing. And an old mother's day card that my father gave her long ago.

Except for some of Papa's tools, a McCoy piece of hubby's grandmother's & my Mam-Mah's rocking chair, these are all the heirlooms I have from mine & hubby's grandparents ( we are very fortunate that all parents are still living!). But I am filling my house to the brim w/ future heirlooms for my descendants. ;o) Yeah! That's why I have all this stuff...so there will be plenty to go around. That's my story & I'm sticking to it!!!

Visit Marie's Heirloom Party for more heirlooms & traditions.


Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

GM..Cami this was a wonderful read and a special post you did today...I could just feel the pride you have when reading about your family...Oh girl to me family things are the best things in the world just PRICELESS and yours are just beautiful...Loved seeing this and reading it...May you have a great weekend my friend...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

common ground said...

Oh, I just loved reading your post! she sounds like a real treasure. It's wonderful that you have these mementos of her. I love how you have displayed your fan and letters. Just beautiful!

Sares said...

Mam-Mah sounds like she was quite a lady. She certainly had a lot of beautiful things to pass along to you. I love the old letters, notes and the lace and recipes in the jar. Everything is wonderful, thanks for sharing!

Sandi@ My Yellow Door said...

Hi Cami,
What a wonderful collection of momentoes you have shared! Each one with a story to tell; I love that! Yours really are priceless! Thank you so much for sharing and thank you too for visiting my blog. Have a wonderful day.


Kim @ Starshine Chic said...

You have such treasures. I really enjoyed seeing them and reading the stories that go along with each. I love what you called your Grandmas. And I love the needlepoint purse the best. And girl, keep sticking to your story. I'll back you up. lol.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Oh Cami! What wonderful keepsakes. They are all valuable!!

Beautiful post!

Sandy said...

What a special post this was. I enjoyed reading about your Grandmother and seeing all the beautiful things you have been given the chance to hold on to. I really liked the way you put the letter and scarf in the jar to display them. I think sometimes we forget about the little things and just put them back in a drawer or box, great ideal.

Vintage Junky said...

what a great book...


Barb said...

What an incredible display of family treasures you have!!

Love the needlepoint purse, and he way you have displayed it.
And the jar with small treasures in it is a wonderful idea!!

and thanks for coming by.

barbara jean

Marie said...

Hello Cami - what a beautiful name to share with an equally beautiful Mam-Mah. I adored the way you shared the sweet memories you have of this special lady. That book is so neat. I'm glad you have it to enjoy and pass along one day. The pin and cuff links are absolutely gorgeous!

Thank you for joining me for the party!


Katy ~ said...

Absolutely positively love the "Have gun" quote. I am ROARING with laughter. What a wonderful, fesity lady. Guess that gene was passed on.

Elise said...

I really enjoyed reading this - it was wonderful - thank you

cindy said...

Love the jar with the recipes! Cool idea and it looks really awesome!

yapping cat

Piney Rose said...

I have so thoroughly enjoyed your post and your lovely blog. I love your gift of displaying your treasures!

Dawn said...

What a beautiful tribute to your family. I love how you have it all on display. I am trying to fit many of the things we've found in our attic into our home but we only have so much space. You gave me so many great ideas.

Being a cottage lover, the needlepoint purse is my favorite! It's no neat that you have a photo of your grandmother using it.

Thanks for all the inspiration!