Being Grandpa – Part Two

In some respects, being grandpa is moving along at breakneck speed; in other respects, it’s a crawl. There’s no need today to disarm the cabin for preventing Samuel, the grandson, from hurting himself – like putting those plastic covers on electrical outlets or moving things he could pull over on himself to higher ground. That reminds me that some things you move to avoid breakage – there might be a little of that. Otherwise, he isn’t moving – YET.

Sometimes people move too quickly to advance their personal dream for the newborn. It has been said that my dad showed up at the hospital with a baseball bat and glove to start my career. If he did, these items ended up gone before they could be preserved for history.

Preserving things for history seems to be important for a time and then those things become trash or recycled material or someone else’s treasure. There are those that say, “Your kids don’t want your stuff when you die, parents.” So, the precious keepsakes of various sizes become of no significant value, unless you are revered as an historical figure and some of the stuff ends up in a museum. That reminds me of the letter from Abraham Lincoln to someone in a personal relationship that the Lilly Library people at Indiana University allowed me to hold. A letter from Lincoln to anyone is special; a letter from me? Not so much.

Back to the keepsakes… So, there’s grandma’s sewing machine. It’s a Singer, three drawers on each side, with an electric motor added sometime before the depression in the 1930s. The sewing machine – still in working order and with accessories – served as a piece of furniture in my home growing up after grandma didn’t sew anymore. It held a fish tank once. Our old record player was on it for a time back when I was a teenager. It now resides in my cabin and holds my 30+ year old stereo system. But, despite being about 110 years old, the Singer likely isn’t worth a lot of money. So, while precious to me and with me for 65+ years, it likely ends up donated or trashed or something when I’m gone.

My grandma’s letter opener I have has been in my possession since she gave it to me years ago. It kind of looks like a sword, albeit smaller. The age is unknown, although grandma said she had had the opener “forever.” So, someone might think, “Oh, that’s a nice letter opener,” or it ends up being pitched out. My attachment to it won’t necessarily be important. Grandma died in 1984 – she may not find significance if she can and wants to see it.

There’s the glass piece I have commemorating my year as president of the Association of Home Office Underwriters. It’s too big to be a good paperweight. It might not serve well as a sun catcher. No one will want that. The piece serves to remind me of a career well served, but that is all.

Oh, there are all kinds of things around that remind me of my life. Some are packed away and will be discarded easily – without much fanfare on my demise. Some are displayed in this cabinet or another and are special to me and no one else. Who knows what happens to all of that stuff, but, “The kids don’t want it.”

So, let’s make sure Samuel is safe if he ever visits the cabin. So long as he’s safe, maybe we can use him as the force to break with the past – literally. Those precious things are precious only in the eyes of the beholder. Once that beholder is gone, it’s different. Now it’s time for Samuel to start his collection of stuff for his kids to eventually pitch…

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