Hand me downs


I was going through my semi-annual cleaning last week (ok, ok, I clean a bit more often than that, but I can dream, can’t I?) and used my usual assortment of “Grandma” towels in the process.

This, of course, got me to thinking how many items of legacy I still own.  Granted, de-threading towels are not commonly included in legacy discussions, but go with me on this.

Preparing for this post required some research.  Not much, mind you, but some.  Basically, it included walking over to the bedroom closet, kitchen cabinets, pantry and linen closet.  Exhausting and exhaustive, I know, but I was up to the task.

I’ve had several previous posts where I touched on my long-standing loyalty to products and services (not to be confused with an equally loyal support of friends and people).  The same holds true for the “hand-me-downs” I’ve received over time, with an added bonus of sentimentality…at no extra charge!

The choices of what passed down items to keep are varied and not always based on rational or practical decisions.  For example, it was many years (more than ten) before I finally broke down and purchased my own set of towels for the bathrooms.  I had received at least two dozen towels (of various colors, patterns and sizes) from Grandma when my Grandpa died.  This collection was augmented when my Dad moved her to a care-assisted home some years later.

Today, those towels serve as my cleaning towels.  During the time I had a cleaning lady for the house, she would occasionally rip one of the towels into smaller rags for her purposes.  Since that time, I haven’t had the need to rip any others (perhaps because I’m not nearly so thorough cleaning), but even if I needed to do so, I would still have plenty of towels left.

My dishes come from Mom.  She gave them to me when I got my first place, some 26 years ago.   They’re quite elegant, having once been her “fine” china (I suppose that gave her the opportunity to get even finer china replacements).  It is a complete set, including coffee cups and saucers (I don’t drink coffee), gravy boat, two large serving plates, two large mixing/serving bowls, sugar bowl, fruit bowls (or small saucers, as you please), dinner plates, smaller plates and even smaller plates (I’m sure these have proper names, but I don’t care to look for them).  Over time, I have used every item at least once and most of the china regularly.  The delicate embossed pattern surprisingly shows no wear or blemish, though its metal content prevents using the china in the microwave.  The difference between china and dishes, I guess, or simply produced prior to the microwave era (come to think of it, I don’t know how long Mom owned the set before me).

How about clothes?  Well, Dad and I don’t share much in physique (he actually commented he thought I was getting taller, recently.  I think it’s more likely the opposite for him, but didn’t wish to point that out), and I’m sure you remember me mentioning how Dad hangs on to things, even past their usefulness.  So there was a reasonable selection of shirts Dad used to wear still sitting in his closet that weren’t so far out of style that I couldn’t use them.  And Dad had plenty of extra ties I could choose from during those days I actually wore ties.  Waistline stuff (belts, shorts or pants) never worked, since Dad hadn’t been my size skinny in a seriously long time.

Miscellanea peppers my home.  I have a set of scissors Grandma used to cut my nails when I was a tadpole.  I still use them for that purpose today nearly 50 years later and, in some strange alchemy I can’t figure out, I have never had to sharpen them in all those years!

In my workout room, a dresser and hutch from Grandpa (maternal) holds my statues and small art curios.  Much of my cooking dishes are hand-me-downs from Mom from way back (the old large white Corning Ware with the colored flowers on the side and clear glass tops).  Up until a few years ago when I received a new set as a housewarming gift, my pots and pans hearkened back to an older time in Mom’s kitchen (you can see where my cooking chops come from), with just a touch of stuff from Grams.

For close to 20 years, I used a combination of Dad’s and Grandpa’s (paternal) golf clubs.  Clubs so old that they still had “S'” for Spoon and “B” for Bonnie on them (though they could just as easily been to describe my shot decision-making:  Stupid and Bad)!

I’ve never been a picture taker or keeper.  It may sound mushy, but all these “relics” of my family’s past afford me an opportunity to remember them each and every time I use them.  Too bad I don’t have my own “generation next” to hand them down to!

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