Stories are the roots of our history. Or to use another metaphor, the stories of our ancestors are the meat on the bones of the genealogical skeleton. It is the stories that bring our family to life and help us to understand them, know them, and yes, come to love them, even if we have never met them. Often we can weave stories around heirlooms. Look around your home, or your parents’/grandparents’ homes. Do they have family objects that tell a story? Ask questions, write the stories, pass them on!
The picture, above, contains two heirlooms: one from my grandmother and one from me!
The hoop is a quilt square my grandmother, Ethel Gilchrest Grant, made of her house dresses. (I put the square in the hoop–she never did get beyond making only 2 quilt squares). Ethel would put on a house dress every morning and go through her routine of cooking, cleaning and caring for the needs of her husband and 3 boys. When it was nearing time for her husband, Earl, to arrive home each evening, Ethel would change out of her house dress and put on a clean dress to be “presentable” to her husband. Her closet was full of these almost interchangeable dresses in pretty pastel prints.
The little Koala bear in front of the hoop is a souvenir I chose when I was about 10 years old. He was a favorite of mine and I often took him on sleepovers at my friend Tammy’s house. One day Tammy took my Koala and starting up in a sing-song voice: “Panda Bear! You have dirty eyes…you have dirty hands…you have a dirty nose…Panda Bear! YOU are DIRTY!!!” I kept trying to grab him away from her and insisting, “He’s NOT a Panda Bear! He’s a Koala Bear!” Her teasing upset me at the time, but now it is a family legend of this little bear, that has lost most of his fur (and probably is pretty dirty by now!) but still remains a favorite. He’s a reminder of the incredibly awesome childhood I had and the marvelous adventures I experienced with my dear friend, and “frousin” Tammy.