Monday, July 02, 2007


by Polly Colcord

Speaking of clutter, I wanted to share with you an article I read in one of the blogs I subscribe to. The blog, Unclutterer, is sometimes too severe for my taste, but frequently there are tips there I can use, and just reading it daily reminds me of my Lofty Unclutter Goal.

Today's post Family heirlooms: Give them away at milestone celebrations, hit the mark with me. My mother and my grandmother both have given to my brothers and me many of the things we wanted before we would otherwise "inherit" them. Doing this way has a two-fold benefit for the recipient: no sad connotations and you get it while you still have room in your life for it.

Above is a picture of the dresser my grandmother gave me. My mother's mother was the genesis of several of our family traits -- artsy-fartsiness, love of nature, and, sad to say, clutter-collecting. She painted this dresser either in the late 60s or early 70s. It was in the room where I would stay when I spent the night with her and I spent many a sleepy moment looking at those ladies fishing.

One of the unique things about it is that she actually signed it, unlike most of her paintings. The name "Colcord" is above the house on the bottom right.

When I became an adult I asked her if she would leave it to me and she agreed. One day, out of the blue, she called me up and offered to give it to me if I would come get it. Thus, I've been able to enjoy this piece for many years now, and plus my girls also grew up with it. Neither have asked me for it, but who knows, maybe my granddaughter will.


Hannah's Mom said...

Oh my goodness!! That is absolutely beautiful! My parents had a fire 2 yrs. ago and lost it all, well almost all. I love it!!! I can see katlynn setting her case you made her on that lovely dresser.

Rima said...

What a beautiful treasure... What an amazing gift to have and cherish. Not only is this a beautiful object in its own right, the artwork is also so delightful and expressive. Wow... How nice to have a real, genuine, certified heirloom piece - so rare in this instant tradition world we live in. I just know that by the time Katlynn ends up with it, she'll have loved it and dreamt about it and treasured it for as long as she can remember.

Frances said...

It is brilliant - I feel sorry that artists so often sell their work out of the family - these personal things have so much meaning. I agree with Rima, it will get passed down with your story attached and so on.

Bobbie said...

I'm still hanging on to things from my mother and they don't fit my life very well, but I just can't part with them. Who knows, maybe someday some great-grand child will want something. I am de-cluttering but it is a very slow process. I've stopped filling the gap though and that is progress!

Audrey said...

Hey! Wait a minute! I didn't know we were allowed to stake claims on things or real yet!

I love that dresser! Sheesh. Of course Katlynn can have it if she wants, but don't leave me out of the loop.

Rima said...

One word of advice, Audrey - get it in writing, darling. Notarize it if you have to ;-p. This is our fate, the juniors of our families, where the older ones live by this motto: "What's mine is mine, what's yours we share". You end up with Midge instead of Barbie (ahh, you're too young to know what I'm babbling about), and everyone assumes you didn't want anything anyway 'cause you never SAID anything. What? oh yes, now that you mention it, I am a little overdue for my meds... but it is nice and restful here with the padded walls and all...hehe

Debi Cates said...

You know, Audrey, it crossed my mind as I wrote that I didn't understand why you hadn't asked for that dresser. It seems like it would be something you'd like especially. So, unless your sister wants it (and then what would we do?), you may have it. Maybe I will follow the advice of this post and make a gift of it to you at some momentous occasion.

Like maybe 2009 when High Def TV rolls in and my TV and outdoor antenna no longer works. I've been playing with the idea to give up the habit for good then.

Neda said...

A precious treasure and a beautiful story to go with it. How wonderful to have grown up in such a wonderful, creative, and loving family.