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What is an Heirloom?

Merriam Webster defines it as “something of special value handed down from one generation to another.” That’s it? But the word itself sounds so proper! I picture the crown jewels, kept in a case that no one is allowed to touch…those are certainly some of the most famous family heirlooms.

My mother cherished her grandfather clock that was actually built by her grandfather. She handed it down to my sister, who left it to her son once she passed. It is a treasured heirloom in my families history as my great grandfather built only 10 of them, for each of his 10 children. They are lovely and when I hear the hour chime, it takes me back as far as I can remember and I swear that I can smell my grandmother’s sauce cooking on the stove. This heirloom has a status that is well earned and well observed by almost every member of my rather large family. It is a physical piece of furniture and as such, lays its claim as one of the most treasured heirlooms among many families.

This got me to thinking of all the not so obvious things that can be defined as heirlooms.

But what about those not so recognizable heirlooms? That trunk full of photos taking up space in your corner? It may be something you bought new, but what is inside? Those old family photos are treasured heirlooms that we often overlook.

My grandmother came to this country, like many in the 1920’s

Each one has a story waiting to be passed down. Are you up for the task?