Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heirlooms

My mother-in-law died 5 years ago today. We still miss her terribly. Elaine was an incredibly generous lady and dearly loved her seven grandchildren. But since my children were 6 and 9 years old at the time, their long-term memories of Marme (as they all called her) may be hazy. What she gave us in life and what she left behind are tangible pieces of her and her memory that my husband and I are keeping in trust for our children.

When we became engaged in 1990, we received a beautiful heirloom that had been in my husband's family since at least the 1850's--a large coin silver spoon signed S. Kirk. It had the monogram of three couples on the front and two couples on the back. Ours was the last set. Wow. This was something.Steve's parents had four of these spoons; as each of their four children became engaged, the new couple received a spoon with their initials added on to the previous four generations. Steve's father had died in 1986, but Elaine carried on the tradition of presenting a spoon to us.

Over the years, we have used the spoon for every special occasion meal and we were glad to have had Elaine there for many of those gatherings. She gave us other pieces of family silver over the years, but the initials spoon always seemed most significant.
When Elaine died, her four children, their spouses, and the grandchildren went to her place to be together (there were four sets of viewings at the funeral home, then the funeral); we began the process of going through her things (which took awhile).

We didn't take many belongings with us at first. I think that we were too sad and unfocused. But among the things we did take home were more spoons--these humble kitchen spoons--a circa 1950s ice cream scoop and a set of measuring spoons missing some of its mates.I guess we took them because they're useful, like our fine spoons, but also because they were hers. Elaine was a great cook. She'd probably had these spoons since she got married and she used them. So to us, the kitchen spoons are in every way heirlooms, too.

7 comments:

Lydia said...

What a lovely story about your in-laws and the initial spoons. I can't believe that it's been already 5 years since she passed away.

Memory Eternal!

ps- Kippy was hydrated today.

CARole said...

I love this story. What a lovely idea your MIL had, and I love that you shared this story.
Thanks for the visit. Love your blog and will add it to my blog list. I'll be back for a visit.
Carole

Laurie said...

What a wonderful post in tribute to "Marme" -- I can totally understand how the well-used kitchen spoons are on par with the lovely heirloom initial spoons!

Jenny said...

Ladies, thanks very much for your nice comments. I'm glad that our feelings for my mother-in-law came through!

Sweet Repose said...

What a wonderful tradition you have in your family, a memory to be shared with the generations to come...how cool is that!

Thanks for stopping by, I'll be back.

Artsy Fartsy Junkin Finds said...

What great memories and great keepsakes! Thanks for stopping by to visit, I will be back often to see what you are up to! Blessings, Janna

Jenny said...

Thanks to you, too, Sharon and Janna, for your nice notes. I enjoy reading both of your blogs!