Saturday, June 30, 2007

Family Heirlooms

A few weeks ago a cousin was moving from one apartment to another, and found the pitcher and serving bowl pictured here among his stored belongings. He e-mailed me to tell me he was bringing them to me.
The serving bowl belonged to my daddy's mother. She passed away when my daddy was still a kid, so I never knew her. I have seen only one picture of her. My daddy said she was a tiny woman, with rich auburn hair. One of his most vivid memories was of her brushing her hair at night, as she prepared for bed, hair so long that she could have sat on it.
My aunt Ruth has told me that Grandma Lee was a sweet and gentle woman, who sang as she worked in her home, who gave birth to twelve children, and who worked hard to take care of her family.
Aunt Ruth also gave me Grandma Lee's cornbread dressing recipe, which I make for my children and grandchildren during the holidays.
I like to imagine her making that dressing, and serving it in that bowl.
The pitcher, on the left, was my husband's great-grandmother's. It is a lemonade pitcher. A hundred years ago, she may have served lemonade in it on a hot summer day.
These are the only tangible bits we have left of these two women's lives--two women without whom neither my husband nor I would exist.
What else do we have of them? Memories. Family stories. A heritage of faith in God and love of family, a tradition of building and maintaining family ties.
Without these bits of china, we would still have those memories and family traditions. The pieces themselves have little, if any, intrinsic value, but when our little cabin is finished, they will have a place of honor, to remind us ever day of those who lived before us.


Jeana said...

That bowl is way too small to serve up a mess of dressing. It is pretty, though.

At A Hen's Pace said...

I love family heirlooms--my grandma has passed down many things to me over the years and has my name on many more. (I'm the only granddaughter.) Your dishes remind me of the china set she gave me for my wedding, which she received for her wedding in the early '30s. Jeana's right--those covered dishes are surprisingly small by today's standards, but so lovely. We always use them on Easter.