Posts Tagged ‘heirlooms’

When I was a kid, summer meant bare feet and long chlorine-scented days at the pool, cherry Popsicles and Saved By the Bell reruns and later bedtimes and reading dozens of Baby-Sitters Club books. Most of all, it meant a long road trip to visit both sets of grandparents, stopping for a few days at Dad’s childhood home in southwest Missouri before driving on to see my mom’s folks in Ohio.

Those vacations tapered off as my sister and I entered high school, as our summers filled up with camp and friends and golf (for her) and band activities (for me). My mom’s folks moved to Texas when I was 13; they now live four hours away from my parents instead of twenty-four. I miss their old blue farmhouse, but we were and are glad to see them more often.

With my grandmother’s passing in January, though, I no longer have any grandparents living in the houses I grew up visiting. My dad’s dad passed away when I was a teenager; my step-grandpa Jack won’t stay in Mimi’s house alone for much longer. (It is too big for one person, and too full of her; he’s moving back to his own house a few miles down the road.) It feels strange to realize that the next time I visit Neosho, I’ll spend time at my uncles’ and cousins’ houses, but not at Mimi’s. And she won’t be there.

Sometime soon, my parents and aunts and uncles will begin dismantling the contents of the house where my family has lived for more than 50 years, setting aside furniture and knickknacks to sell, choosing heirlooms for themselves and their children. (Mimi collected shoes, teacups, costume jewelry, vintage tins, antiques of various kinds and Sunshine Biscuit Company memorabilia, not to mention stockpiling canned goods as though the end of the world was imminent. There is a lot of stuff in that house.)

I asked my mom to pick me out a teacup or two when they sort things out, and I already have a green butterfly pin given to me by a cousin after Mimi’s funeral. But Dad brought a few treasures back for me from his last trip to Neosho: three beautiful vintage books, and a pair of Mimi’s church gloves.

tom sawyer vintage books alice in wonderland

The copy of Tom Sawyer is one I used to read as a child, though the dust jacket has gone missing over the years. This edition of Alice in Wonderland was too beautiful to pass up; the illustrations are gorgeous. And the orange-covered primer, On Cherry Street, came to my dad via Field Elementary School, where he and my uncle and his best friends all went. (One of those friends later officiated at my wedding.) I am the only true bookworm in the Noah family, and these books will join the ranks of my treasured heirloom books and young adult literature.

Mimi had stopped wearing gloves to church by the time I came along, but these black scalloped gloves were hers, and they remind me of her getting all dressed up for Sunday morning church and Christmas Eve services. I will cherish them, and wear them when it gets cold again here.

black cotton church gloves grandmother

I have one other book from Mimi’s, which I used to read every summer (and giggle out loud at the funny parts): No Children, No Pets. She tried to send it home with me several times, but I wouldn’t let her. Reading it, in the late afternoon when the house was quiet, was an integral part of the magic of being at Mimi’s house. I finally let her give it to me after I graduated from high school, and oh, how I treasure it, and these other heirlooms from the Noah farmhouse. My long summer days there may be over, but hidden between these covers is a little bit of that magic, the smell of those rooms and the deep love that permeated the whole place.

What heirlooms do you cherish from your childhood?


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