Monday, March 12, 2012

Fine Line Between Mixing Things Up...And Just Messin' With Your Mind!

Dear Helen Hartman,
As a fellow collector of vintage I think you are uniquely qualified to comment on an issue in my household. After going to so many estate sales I have to wonder – what will become of all my stuff  when I am gone (not dead, but as soon as these kids are grown, Mama is downsizing to move to a Swingin’ Singles Condo).  Mostly I fear that our personal family heirlooms might get lost among all my trinkets and treasures. Love some advice on how to keep what belongs to the family in the family.

Dear Loved One,
Collector-Schmollector. Helen is uniquely qualified to comment on ANYTHING anywhere.

Everyone says I’m a real giver. Here, let me give you piece of my mind.
 
Don’t believe me? Just try and stop me! But don’t do it before I share my thoughts on this subject. For things that have a long family connection, make an effort to record and share the history behind the object. Remember that we are connected not by our stuff but by our stories. 
Like anyone, there are certain belongings I’d hate to have end up at flea market like the one we went to this past Saturday.

Is it wrong to want to dress like a display dummy?

I’d hate to think someone might one day do to the photos of my family what I am going to the people in the photos I bought.

Add Caption? I believe I will.  Everything is better with 'Caption' added!
 
Was a bit rushed skimming through this suitcase filled with postcards, tin types, snapshots and not until I got home and looked at the four I ended up with did I notice they were clearly all from the same household. Of course, that led me to a whole new dilemma. Aside from sharing them here, what do I do with another family’s photos?  You know what’s tempting?

Tempting? To stab the next person who asks if I'm a 'Knit Wit' with my Jiffy needles?

No, to slip these stranger's photos into the box with all our family pics and leave them as a mystery for whoever is left to sort things out. I might even create a fake history and jot a note on the back… what do you think?

I think you're the kind of twisted puppy who displays the photos that come with the frames in order to impress people - because, let's face it, your real family ain't gonna make ANYONE jealous.
 
Yes, I would do it. When my son was little and wanted a dog I told him that it was against the law for anyone to own a dog that hadn’t gone to kindergarten. When he told me his friends had dogs, I’d say “Well, they’re breaking the law, aren’t they?”.  Then there was the time the kids asked why every antique mall and flea market (and grandmother’s house) had that same sepia toned picture of Jesus and me, big ol’ practicing Christian?

Practicing. That means I still make a lot of mistakes. (an actual page from one of my childhood Sunday School books - proof that Helen has ALWAYS thought it was her mission to 'fix' things)

I told my kids that was Jesus’ high school graduation picture. Everybody got one (we have one but someone packed it away this autumn and i can't find it - was that a way of getting back at me?).  Messing with their minds? Naw.  Just making life interesting by mixing things up a little. And that’s gonna be a whole lot easier with my amazing find…

AHHH-AHHHH... I know you're hearing that chorus of angels aren't you?

Why don't more things come with an ejector button?































What was your question again? How do you keep your family heirlooms from becoming MY heirlooms? You probably can’t. If whoever you leave them to decides the only thing worth hanging onto is a plastic Lion King Farting Warthog Christmas Ornament, there’s nothing you can do about  it. 
So why not do the most to enjoy your things and share them with your family now? After all, it's not the stuff but the love and memories that matter. If you give those to your loved ones, that’s the best inheritance of all.

PS to my kids- none of this applies to you.  If you sell off any precious family mementos after I'm gone I will haunt you and just as in life I will mess with your heads!

31 comments:

  1. Ha! Tricky one! I've cleared out so many relatives homes that I have got to the point of donating boxes of family photos and mementoes in the hope some crazy hoarder will buy them up. x

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  2. LOL - what does happen to all these photos? I can't buy them all!

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  3. Hello Helen:
    Well, we think that it is a perfectly reasonable idea to want to swap one's family for another. After all, one was only born with one's family whereas there are so many other more interesting ones out there that one can choose from.

    We are absolutely certain that, given half a chance, you, dearest Helen, would have several other would be adoptive sisters, brothers, cousins, call them what you will, if you just advertised for them. Who could possibly resist the fun to be had at the Hartman house and large Matinis all round too!!

    The Sunbeam mixer is a joy. We may have one in our own dear kitchen but we never go in to look. However, the highlight of this post has to be the absolutely fabulous nail colour which you are sporting today. Clearly, you are back to your old self. Yippee!!!!

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    1. LOL on not knowing what is in your kitchen. You think of that part of the house as a lovely place where you keep the thing that stores your ice cubes, don't you? (I know you are not drinking anything unchilled) Advertizing for better relatives? Is there a section for that on Craigslist? Thanks - the nail polish was supposed to be apple green but it looks a bit olive.

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  4. Love the mixer, the nail polish and the story about Jesus's graduation picture.

    I grew up with a grandmother who literally lost sleep worrying about what would become of her precious belongings. For years I moved them from one house to another out of a sense of obligation, even though they weren't my style at all. As a result, I'm not going to worry about what my daughter does with my things. Keep or toss...it's her call. I'll be dead anyway, so what will I care? :)

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    1. My Mom worried about who would get what and what we'd fight over - well we are spaced out (I mean by years) so the things that we grew up around were so different, we didn't want any of the same stuff. My son was born with a sense of family history so he will probably be the one who gets everything. Of course, he also loves $$ so he might sell a lot of it!

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  5. Oh, I love you, Helen Hartman - what a great post! The family photos up for sale ALWAYS get to me...who could do that?! I love the idea of mixing them in with your own photos. I actually bought up a bunch of Civil War cabinet cards a few years back, and printed the faces of the old gals on linen - which I proceeded to use as the faces on witch dolls at Halloween, because they were so "stoic"/stone faced/mean! My daughter was horrified that I would do that to "someone's Grandma"...I asked her what was worse - that I was giving the old gals life again, or that their grandkids had sold them to an antique store. Happy Monday - you're going on my blog list!

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    1. Thanks for your visit! Love the old gals becoming witch dolls - I can totally SEE that. In fact, now I want to do that with old photos of the women of my family. I am sure more than one of the menfolks have thought they were a right proper coven!

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  6. ha ha ha sorry helen im still chuckling about your last comment in blue in small print to yout kids ;-)) I would like to think my boys would keep some of my things i have collected they know how much it all means to me. But i suppose they have their own lives to lead but it would be nice to think they would keep some things with them. Especially the items that have been handed down to me from my family. dee x

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    1. My kids, they really have withstood a lot. They warn me all the time that they will dress me funny when I am too old to resist them but really, how funny would it have to be for me to not like it? Your sons will find their own treasures among your things, I'm sure.

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  7. Yeah, you are the best! So glad you are back at it!

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  8. You know, there are some photos in amongst my Grandma's that I've no clue who they are and how they relate to our family. I'm wondering if she tossed some in there just to throw us off. I wouldn't put it past her; she'd do it just for fun to keep us guessing!

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    1. LOL - I can imagine the chuckle she had sticking those in. You never know...

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  9. I think that's my mom and dad up there...

    You never cease to make me gufaw...I think I'll start telling my kids those things. Much more entertaining {for me} than trying to tell the truth.

    I'm laughing through the snot..I think you passed your virus to me via your email...

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    1. They were a smokin' couple then! Like Annette and Frankie! My dad did the same to me - he's been gone half my life and my brother and sister still laugh at what a dope I was to believe the crazy stuff he told me (like the topless lady statue in our formal living room was modeled on my MOM!). Feel better soon - I wasn't snotty so you can't blame me. Nu-uh. No way. If our heart rate goes nuts and your gums swell... we'll talk!

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  10. Oh okay Miss Smarty Pants collector-schmollector - just HAD TO put THREE extra LARGE pictures of that pink mixer didn't you. Can you see me rockin honey?! Gosh, I'd even break down and make cupcakes for the grandkids if I had that one. Of course they'd all think they were in the wrong house if I did. But that could be a good thing maybe :- )

    LOVE those crinolines! If I wasn't old and fat you could go ahead and call me dummy cause I'd be wearing them!

    You've given me very wicked ideation about those old black & whites. There's quite a few unmarked one's in my ancient family photo box - would be GREAT fun to give the future generations something to giggle about - or, blame their bad habits on genes.

    Glad you're up & at em Dear Helen.

    ~Vickie~

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    1. I know Vickie - what if you wrote something really tantalizing on the back - Uncle Earl's OTHER family. Or Day Last child support payment was made. I don't care what the judge says, I don't see any resemblance to my other kids.

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  11. Cool mixer! Yep, my boys are just THRILLED at the Christmas ornament collection they'll be inheriting:@)

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    1. For years I let the kids pick a new one for themselves every year - thus the snorting warthog - yes it's supposed to SNORT but it doesn't sound all that different from, you know.

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  12. ah hahahaha!!! Jesus' graduation picture....THAT is a good one ~ or maybe a bad one....who knows :) We collect pictures of people's relatives....we figure that someday someone is going to be pretty sad that they don't have those & buy them on ebay for a fortune....naw....but, they WILL make great caption pictures...and they do fill our frames in the store to make it look interesting :)
    By the way, diggin' that green polish darling!

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    1. Thanks! Putting old photos in old frames is an awesome idea. Love the idea of you going around buying relatives. I have a couple I'd let go for cheap!

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  13. What the?! How am I just now discovering your blog (from you finding mine ~ thanks lady)?! LOVE your posts ~ hilarious and a bit twisted, just the way I like 'em! Looking forward to reading your future posts!

    ~Cindy

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! The twistier the better I always say.

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  14. Dear Helen,
    I want to thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I'm so glad you did, because I came to visit you and LOVE your blog. I'm so excited to have found you. I will go through all I have missed the next time I have an entire hour or so to call my own. Until then, I will keep the image of your blog header in my mind to set the mood for my day. I love it, and it makes me happy! Thanks so much for visiting. I'm so glad to meet you. I'm your newest follower!!
    Julie

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    1. Thanks Julie - I love your blog right back. You have more style in your little finger than most people have in their whole blogs!

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  15. Girl...you are just plain throwed off! Enough in fact...you could wear the can-cans and no one would think a thing about it.
    I am the Collector o'the Crap in our family. Funny thing is what our parents and g-parents thought was oh so valuable...no one wants...so it ends up at my house. I finally drew the line at the complete set of 70's Dallas Cowboys glassware that my grandmother kept in a china cabinet behind lock and key...complete with a big ol' bad A$$ chain...even if they coulda made me a cazillionaire!
    Great post.
    Deb

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    1. You are preaching to the choir, my dear - from one who owns a whole set of never used TwoAllBeefPattiesSpecialSauceLettuceCheesePicklesOnionsOnASesemeSeedBun glasses that I thought might be worth something one day. Turns out they are - about twice what I paid for them (they were free of course). Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. I'm totally loving the idea of mixing up some of my thrifted photos with our own family photos. Brilliant.

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  17. Skip the ejector button it's the beater button that could be handy as a parent. Kidding of course!
    Hey, you keep the mixer, and give me the fabric under it. A gal can dream!

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