Saturday, June 27, 2015

What To Do With Family Stuff~

I love George Carlin’s 1986 rant on stuff.  All of us tend to focus on acquiring stuff, storing stuff, displaying stuff, treasuring stuff, and feeling guilty about not using stuff we have. I always wondered why, when my parents reached a certain age, they started to divest themselves of their stuff. Now that I’ve reached the point in life myself, I ‘ve come to understand. I’m ready to pass a great deal of the stuff on to the next generation – if they will take it

I have conflicted feelings about the family heirlooms type of stuff that has been bestowed upon me as a “keeper of the flame” or because I loved the stuff at somebody else’s house or because somebody needs to take the stuff so it doesn’t end up in a Goodwill shop.

Some of the family heirlooms are treasures that I appreciate having. Others are somewhat of a burden – meaning that I love the fact the artifacts survive but don’t really want them. But I want one of my nieces and nephews to desire having the stuff passed onto them.

I love the brass bed that my paternal grandfather kept in his basement, tarnished to a dismal black, with squeaky springs, sturdy and gloriously shimmering when polished. I treasure the water goblets from the Heisy Rose pattern that my mother selected as her wedding crystal. They are the size of modern day wine glasses unlike the 60-year-old wine goblets that barely hold 3 sips. But I love them and want somebody of the next generation to treasure them as I have – not only because of the family connection but because they are beautiful.

My favorite carpets are aged Persians that are lightly frayed and burnished with use. Our fireplace mantel is an antique carved oak piece we found at an antique store in Ohio. We treasure the soft lines of the Hoosier cabinet that houses our spices and light weight dry goods. We love our old things. But at this point in our lives we also seek things that are new and modern, items without handcuffs or strings.

Our tastes have changed. We now crave minimalism. {okay – we do not intend to divest ourselves of our excess cats} But we do want to live in an environment that includes only those items we currently love and treasure and want to surround ourselves with.

So, it is time to make some hard decisions, choices about what really matters.  At the end of the day it is only stuff. Stuff isn’t people. Stuff isn’t love.
Stuff isn’t joy. Stuff does not embody the people who owned it or conveyed it to us. It is stuff, inanimate, soulless, hollow, objects.

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