Fallic40 54M
3214 posts
3/29/2006 8:14 pm

Over the weekend, I was reading a post about simplifying a life and reducing physical clutter. On many levels, I could not agree more as I dislike clutter in my life. I regularly clean out items that are not being used and I try to avoid impulse purchasing as much as possible. I question the need for anything that I purchase.

But the items listed by the writer seemed to have so much family value that I found myself wondering why they would be considered clutter. I could not even begin to think about disposing of my family heirlooms ‒ or even putting them into storage. They need to be out in the open where they can add to the history of my family.

These are the items that have incredible value to me as a registery of my family’s history. These items are all irreplaceable.


1. My granny's recipe file (like you thought she would leave it to my mum?). Now for those of you who understand the English Cookbook to be one of the 3 shortest books in the world (the German Book of Humor and the Big Book of Italian War Heroes being the others) let me tell you that my Irish granny could cook. I have her recipe for Steak and Kidney pie and trifle and all kinds of good things: I have even shared some of the recipes with you. I have added plenty of good things to it.

2. My granddad’s coaching whistle and stopwatch. I use the whistle for running practice every day and that way I know he is watching over me and what I am doing. Plus it makes such a great sound when the team runs lots and lots of sprints. The stopwatch is used to time practice as every drill is run to the split second.

3. The local newspaper from 1956 that covered my dad signing a professional contract to play for one of the top English soccer teams. I also have the paper with the details of the FA Cup final he played in the next year where he was on the winning team. Winning the FA Cup is probably second to winning the World Cup for every English player. I have a match program from the game as well. The newspapers are going to be going into my oldest daughter’s sports memorabilia bedroom next summer.

4. A small Waterford rose bowl that my other granny left me in her will. It is probably one of only 2 or 3 valuable things she had and it always has flowers in it. My cockney granny was widowed in 1965 and lived a life that was devoid of luxuries and rich in life. Many of my personal values come from Nanny D as she was a true cockney and the start, and the life, of any party. Give her a pint of lager and a piano and everyone was having a good time. I was in the pub with her by the time I was seven.

5. Six 8 x 10 black and white photographs in matching frames. The photos are of one of my granddad's teams from the 1930s, one of my dad's teams from the 1960s, one of my uncle’s teams from the 1970s, and one of my teams from the 1980s. I have recently added my oldest daughters first international team photo and my 13 year old nephew’s recent select team photo. All of the photos have been aged to match the original 1932 picture. It is a family history in football photos. My youngest daughter (who might be more talented than her older sister) has just decided to play next year so there will be another picture soon.

6. My great granddad Pop’s signing-on papers to be a baker on the Titanic. He was all set to go on the ship, then my great-granny had premonitions and would not let him sail on her. I also have all of his medals from the Great War (the War to end all Wars) as well as his Lee Enfield rifle that he “kept” .

7. My granddad's fireman's helmet and medals from when he served as a City of London fireman all through the Blitz and the subsequent Luftwaffe raids on southeastern England. He was blown up, burnt, smashed and still kept on fighting fires and unexploded bombs. Of the twenty firemen who started the war with him, three survived. My uncle has all of my other granddad’s war equipment which is only fair as that was his father.

8. Granny Ds beer mug. Don’t laugh here, my great granny lived to be 105 and she had a pint of Guiness every day with lunch and another with dinner. She was as sharp at 105 as anyone I have ever met. She was a font of amazing stories about the world wars and such and I would sit with her and keep her company for hours and I was allowed to sip Guiness from her pint glass. There must be something in that Guiness.

9. A complete set of 1930s Encyclopedia Britannica - with WW2 supplement. There are some amazing things in those books. I read that this thing called the atomic bomb is going to end all wars: my encyclopedia says so. It was also very hot on the concept of jet propulsion too!


I have sent these items to “show and tell” at grade schools and junior high school. Some of them have been displayed in a historical display at my oldest daughter’s high school. It is the treasure of my family. And like so many people in England, I share it with everyone rather than lock it away in the dark. There is deep pride in my family’s history.

What family heirlooms and historical artifacts do you have and display?


MissAnnThrope 57F
11488 posts
3/29/2006 9:34 pm

My bureau originally belonged to my great-grandfather. It was one of the things he brought over with him from Italy.

My father's desk, which he had from childhood.

My mother's antique caster set.

My grandmother's Queen Anne sideboard, all the old photos of long dead relatives and my mother's bullseye glass collection are all still in storage. *sigh*

HBowt2 60F

3/30/2006 1:57 am

loads of stuff
my grandad's medals and his watch, an old fob watch, from the Irish Civil War
An old brass parafin lamp, 4ft tall with a green glass shade and pink ceramic fuel holder.
Coins from the 1800's
the piano from my granny's house
my granny;s cookbook...
and it's not's a part of who i am and i'm keeping there...

runzwithknives 61F

3/30/2006 11:30 am

Very nice, Fallic.
It is an interesting peek inside our blogger friends.
And you still have me thinking about what is considered clutter and what is not (and I so hate dusting all this stuff)...sigh...

rm_jayR63 60F
1884 posts
3/31/2006 5:23 pm

I got nuthin, not even a rock.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
4/2/2006 8:44 am

Jay, what are we going to do with you? We need to find you some family history, pronto.

For me, it's a connection to my roots and also to my social class. Yes, I know that it's now supposed to be a classless society, but well, that is just a load of bollocks. I come from a working class background and I am proud of it.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
4/2/2006 8:46 am

runzwithknives, here is something for you to think about.

Clutter is what gets in the way of you looking at those wonderful family things you love so much. The family quilts especially that you talked about need to be displayed.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
4/2/2006 8:50 am

HBow2, absolutely you need to keep it. It is a portrait of who you are and what you are. I deliberately keep little crappy things off of my shelves so that all of my real treasure can be displayed.

I have also let my daughters and their friends play with these things over the years. Everyone tries on the fireman's helmet - it is displayed so people will want too.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
4/2/2006 8:53 am

MissAnn, I can imagine that if you are living in a New York apartment that there would indeed be issues with a) getting the Queen Anne sideboard to your place, and b) fining a space suitable for it.

The Italian bureau sounds really amazing too. Does it have a lot of inlay?

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
4/2/2006 8:57 am

Shaye, I would imagine that the animation has extreme monetary value as well as family value. I am surprised that Disney has never tried to buy it from you. They seem to be collecting a lot of their own historical artefacts again.

The toy bear sounds fascinating too. Is it tin? I have always been fascinated by clockwork toys.

My favourite pieces that I have are the Titanic sign-on papers. I am going to get the framed soon as they are now 95 years old and getting a bit fragile.

ember700 50F
57 posts
4/17/2006 2:08 am

F, thxxx for the inspiration. I moved into a new apartment 2 weeks go tonite, I have unpaked my dishes, my towels and my movies but you made me realize that there are other things that need to be out. So at 5 am, (i cant sleep) I am thinking about which boxes I have to go thur to find the really important stuff, pitures, books but most importantly a glass bowl. When my grandfather or pap as we newfies call 'em, died a couple of years back my mom gave me a glass bowl, it's not old or expensive, he used it as a candy dish. I was touched, considering she is the oldest of 13 kids with many grandkids in the mix, I am fortunate to have this memento. Suddenly I realize it means more to me than I knew. The past 8 months have been hard for me, I have had too much stress and some loss but I am getting better, with this move I am making a clean slate. These past 2 weeks I was questioning if I made the right decision and now I know I have. Family is important. Thanks again.
yours ember
btw you can cook for me anytime, bring your granny's recipe box and I will supply the apron and nothing else,

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