Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ramblings on Heirlooms & Tradition

I don't normally write posts like this, but yesterday T had an event at work (and blogged about it himself) which sparked some reflection on my part.  Forgive my ramblings as my head is still spinning with my own thoughts!

The community where he works hosted an Antiques Appraisal event where people were encouraged to bring in their 'potential treasures' from home and find out if are worth anything.  He said one of the more interesting things he learned from Carolyn Remmey (the appraiser), is that many things that are a century old are surprisingly not worth much and are not collectible in today's market.

She said that grandmothers aren't passing along their china, etc. to their granddaughters as much anymore (who know their lack of monetary value and/or are just not interested in them).  My reaction to this was twofold: #1- "Well that's sad…" and #2-"I'm totally not surprised!"

It's probably important to know that I come from a family who values collectibles.  I have a history-obsessed dad, and an antiques-appreciative mom.  My grandparents have had things passed down to them, and I've also already had things passed down to me.  I have a silver set from my Great-Great-Aunt(s) as well as a pretty set of glassware.  However, these days, people just don't have the dinner parties that past generations have had!  I'm sad to say that I haven't used either of my inherited collections yet, and cannot yet truly picture the circumstance where I will. I said to Tom (the appraiser also echoed this apparently), "No one has fancy dinners anymore...".  China or silver sets for 12+ people…?!  (Sidenote: Then again, almost everyone puts new china sets on their wedding registries……a baffling item in my head.  Is it out of formality?...)

What's most interesting to me is that, despite the sad fact that these once-valuable treasures are becoming worthless, it isn't that my generation isn't creating their own festive traditions.  Most parties today resolve around buckets of artisinal beers,  spigot adorned drink dispensers, paper straws, elaborate bar setups (guilty!), the mason-jar craze, outdoor games like cornhole, super elaborate cakes, and an overall more hand-crafted approach to things.  Maybe it's The Recession and my generation's feeling of, 'If I can save a buck and DIY this, I will…"

Meanwhile, other antiquated fads have made comebacks- read: LETTERPRESS!  Good lord.  The most painstaking tradition you can imagine… and EXPENSIVE!  It is just interesting to me how little people are caring about century-old china, silver or crystal (let alone their owns family's!) but are willing to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars on letterpressed business cards or wedding invitations.  

So what does all this say?  Who knows!  I've confused myself.  I guess bottom-line: If your grandparents try to offer you something, take it!  It would be so sad if our generation dropped the ball on heirlooms in favor of mason jars.  Even if it's a decade until you use them and it's just the once, don't turn them down. That's my two cents at least.

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