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The "Good" China?

Recently a friend was planning a move from her large colonial into a small apartment. She began downsizing her belongings. She feared a big battle between her children as to who would get what.

She put out all of her cherished silver, embroidered tablecloths and napkins, all her serving dishes from her own mother, as well as her own keepsake items from various places she had traveled. She called her family together and asked them all to take a number out of a hat and then, in order, pick one item at a time.

It seemed very fair to her and she was very proud of the way she handled it. Each of them was very kind and appreciated her generosity. However not one of them wanted anything. No storage space, easier less formal life style, too much upkeep etc.

This let me to thinking about my "own stuff." For example, the silver trays that are wrapped in tarnish proof cloth and haven't been out of the attic in several years. We used to use them for special occasions but now it seems like too much trouble and even special occasions usually aren't that formal anymore.

Then there are my candelabra, and candlesticks and the trip to the store for new tapers each time we used them. We now use candles more often but most come in jars with our favorite scents.

Lovely lace tablecloths were always on the dining room table. When a special "dining room dinner" was held we used linen: sometimes embroidered, with napkins to match. These are now replaced with cotton/poly that don't need ironing. And I still only use them for special dinners. I keep telling myself I like the clean bare look.

I think I have, somewhere, the crocheted backs and arms my grandmother made for the living room chairs. All the dressers and buffets had starched beautiful runners. Remember the pillowcases with embroidery and crochet edges?

Funny thing is, I liked to iron, and especially enjoy watching other people iron, but when did we find the time for all that ironing? This was before clothes dryers. We even ironed our handkerchiefs! Glad we can now just toss the tissues. All my lovely handkerchiefs with tatted edges made with such love are too nice to use and are saved.

I have a cedar chest in the attic (remember the so called "hope chests"? Ha ha). When my mother-in-law died my daughter got her chest and somehow decided to collect them. We have about five now. I believe her interest has waned (thank God). Now the question is, what to do with them.

On a more recent note what are you doing with all those Beanie babies? Were we crazy?

A trip to your storage area can be quite an adventure. We come back to reality. How can I part with granddad's old bowling shirt, or that tray that must be 80 years old? Do we save for sentimental reasons or possible future worth, eBay or garage sale?

I once went to a doll show. I took a doll that I had since I was a toddler. It was only an inch high but had moving parts and a crochet dress. I was sure they'd flip over it. "What a find!" I thought I'd take the whole family on vacation with the money I'd get for her.

The appraiser told me it was worthless, that they were handed out free at movie matinees years ago.

Will we ever regret if we sell grandma's afghan at the garage sale? Maybe, maybe not. But before you do see if another member of the family may want it. Perhaps one of the younger generation would appreciate it.

Times change for better or worse. Many of us live in the here and now, but thankfully there are those who still cherish and preserve the past.

Should we save good china and silverware for special occasions? Have we the time and space to store it or should we enjoy it everyday? Different strokes for different folks.

For me I think that even though I'm fast becoming an antique myself I'll clean out the attic, one of these days, and get rid of the junk.

I love the carefree housekeeping life of today. I will however keep that little doll just in case.

How about you?

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Pat


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