Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Discovering family treasures

Last week I spent two days sorting through boxes in two of my Mom and Dad's storage units.  It was dusty and hot and they had soooo many things.  Some were easy to get rid of--like the boxes of Tupperware glasses and totes of blankets and pillows.  Other were difficult--like the old cookie jar from when I was a kid. But for the most part I was able to detach myself from the things we went through simply by telling myself I had enough stuff of my own back home.  In fact, sorting through all those boxes made me make a mental note to go home and sort through all the things that fill our house to overflowing--but more on that later.  For now I just want to tell you about the things that I couldn't let go.

First I have to explain that I love antiques and old family heirlooms.  Our family doesn't have many, and I'm OK with that.  Before my family moved from Logan, Utah to Houston, Texas a little over 19 years ago, my Grandma Stay gave me two things that I treasure. 

1.  This mirror, which hangs above our piano:
I'm told belonged to my Great Grandma Gunn

2.  This simple cardboard box:

Although it doesn't look like anything special, I love this box.  It is full of papers that belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa Stay and gives me a unique peak into their life.  Inside the box are things like:

 Old insurance policies

My Great-grandfather Stay's business card

A letter of reference written for my Grandpa Stay

The receipt for a Kelvinator refridgerator
purchased by my Grandparents in 1925:

And an article that one of my Grandparents
 saved from a newspaper in 1907.

How cool is that?

I love these little bits of history.  So it shouldn't be too surprising that the things that I had difficulty parting with in Mom and Dad's storage units were things that my Grandparents once owned. 

The first things I claimed were my Grandfathers' tool boxes. 

The first one belonged to my Grandpa Birrell 

It is full of all kinds of metal bits and pieces. 
Not sure what was his and what added by someone else, but that doesn't really matter to me.

This box one belonged to my Grandpa Stay. 

He made the box and even put his name on it. 

It is full of old tools. 
I am not sure if they belonged to Grandpa or my Dad. But once again the contents really don't matter. I just love that I have something that was made and used by my Grandpa.

But my favorite pieces of history were found in another box that belonged to my Grandpa Stay.

It is pretty beat up and at first glance looks like something that should be put in the trash pile.  But then you open it up and discover it is a treasure box:
Inside I found these:

And this:

And this:
My most exciting discoveries came from this box. 
Once again, it doesn't look impressive.  But it's contents are wonderful!

I discovered old family photos:
Most of these are damaged and unmarked.  I have no idea who most of the people are or how I'll ever find out.  But they still are amazing.

I found the announcement of my great-grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary:
I love the pictures they included in the announcement:
I found an envelope addressed to my grandparents that contained some wonderful old postcards of the Nauvoo Temple and Carthage Jail:
And the obituary for my Great-grandma Stay:
I was so thrilled to have added these wonderful treasures to the ones that are in my old cardboard box.  

And then I found this:
I couldn't believe my eyes!  It appears to be an original ticket to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.  It is in nearly perfect condition, and if authentic is now the coolest family artifact that I own.  So today I am grateful for family treasures, old beat up boxes and my inability to throw them away! 


The Allred Family said...

That's so cool to find such amazing treasures! I need to be better about not tossing certain little treasures my kids or grandkids would love to see when I'm gone. Thanks for all your great posts. Miss you tons!

spa said...

This is too cool! I'm Greg's cousin Sondra and stumbled on your blog from Facebook. What a great find.