Through the Generations...

 I have been thinking a little bit about family heirlooms and what is passed down through the generations. As you will see,  I'm not just thinking about things, but talents and characteristics...  Recently I came across the company  Patience Brewster, an American company which is family run, taking advantage of talents within the generations. If you're not familiar with the name, Patience Brewster specialises in handmade figurines, whimsical ornaments, and stationery. There are some lovely things on the site, designed by the very talented mum, with the business run by the children.

I love the penguin!  Some of the designs are too fairy-twee and whimsical for my tastes, but I do really like the stationery in particular.

 So while thinking about the heirlooms and antiques and family treasures, I came to the conclusion that actually, there's not a great deal in the way of "things" that has been passed through our family. Mum has certain tea services that were her mum's, and her grandmother's before that.

One a little like this:

and another Minton one,  like this...

There is the oak table that Mum said I could have, but I've never quite worked out how to get it from Liverpool to St Just, but hopefully, one day, I'll get it out here.
But there aren't that many "things" that have been passed through the generations.

EDIT: Something Ang said in her comment reminded me that actually I do have three precious heirlooms: two that have been passed to me and one I want to pass on. The first is my wedding ring, which was my Nana's before me. Mum asked me if I would like to have it, as the first of the children to get married (in public, that is! My brother and Linda had got married, but nobody had known about it. They turned up one day and said "By the way, we got married today"...!!) It is a plain gold band, but it is very special. As we don't have children I suppose I should think of passing it on to Rose or Ruth, my brother's girls.

The other precious thing is another ring. This belonged to my (not really) Aunt Cynthia. Mum and Cynthia had been friends since school and they were really close. When Cyn married Pat, they stayed close and Dad and Pat were firm golfing buddies. Pat and Cyn always came on holiday with us and, despite Pat being a terrible tease, they were as loved as any relatives would be. When Cyn died of lung cancer, Pat was distraught, and at the funeral told me to go and choose something from amongst Cyn's belongings. I chose a beautiful, delicate ring. As my camera is out of action at the moment, I tried to find a picture of something similar, but couldn't - it is a small opal, surrounded by a wrought gold heart; two tiny rubies on either side of the heart finish it off. I wear it every day, and whenever I look at it I remember Cynthia and Pat (who committed suicide a few months after Cyn's death, as he couldn't live without her) with both a smile and a tear.

The third is a gold cross. Very plain, very simple. The reason it is so special is that my brother, who is not a Christian, bought it for me in Bethlehem and had it blessed. For me, in fact, the blessing is not the blessing that was said over it, but the blessing that  he - not believing - bothered to have it blessed because he knew it would be special for me. I want to pass this on, probably to one of my God children.

So what else has been passed down from mother to daughter...?

Artistic flair, perhaps? Mum used to do the most beautiful calligraphy - I once found a book that she had designed using a poem by James Elroy Flecker as inspiration. Full of the most amazing callgraphy and art work. It inspired me to take up calligraphy too, and maybe that creative spark has been passed down to me...I certainly love creating things, from zentangle inspired art, to cards, to calligraphy. I don't think I'm as talented as Mum, but it's certainly something I enjoy doing.

I'm not sure Nana was particularly artistic, but my Nana knitted - oh, boy, did she knit!? And crochet. But knitting was definitely her forte - she always knitted us school cardigans and jumpers, as well as other garments. I was often requesting different pullovers, and  I particularly remember a brown-and-yellow striped polo neck, something like this one:
and another in pale blue/navy blue stripes. Maybe that's where my love of pullovers comes from! And I still have the granny stripe blanket that she crocheted for me when I went off to college 33 years ago.
This isn't it...but it could be:

Mind you, looking at the wobbliness of the blankets that I knit for Spanish Stray Cats, I'm not totally sure the knitting gene has been passed on to me! Here is Darcy modelling my blankets:

The only pullover I ever knitted for myself was a fairly comprehensive disaster, ending up so huge, due to who knows what failure on my part to check tension, or something technical like that, that I had to sew about a third of it into the seams!

 I suppose the thing that is the most precious that certainly ties my Nana, my mum and me together is a Christian faith. Nana went to County Road Methodist Church, and brought mum up in the Methodist denomination. Me, my brother and sister would be dropped off at Nana's on Sunday, and we'd be taken along to Sunday School at County Road. I can remember singing "Hear the Pennies Dropping" and "Wide, wide as the Ocean..." and it is from those seeds that my Christian faith grew.

Mum went to Old Roan Methodist Church, and when Nana moved to live with us, that's where we went too. We used to take part in the Scripture Exams every year - I can't really remember what these consisted of, but this certificate looks familiar
(Not mine, taken from this site)

Gradually, through the Gideons, through Christian Union, through the support of the church and my parents, I became a Christian, a faith which I've been able to share with Mum, and which has sustained us both through some difficult times. Although I haven't stayed "true" to my Methodist roots, and have tasted most denominations, from Baptist, through free church, to Anglican and now worshipping at an Episcopalian supported church, I still feel a nugget of Methodism when we sing a particularly erousing Weslyan hymn. "That's from my roots", I think to myself, and say a small prayer of thanksgiving for all those who played a part in my coming to Christ.


  1. Like you, I don't possess many heirlooms passed through the generations [and a few tiny bits of jewellery went in the burglary] but I treasure the Christian heritage my grandparents and parents passed on. I know that my faith is personal, and not inherited- but the good grounding, the Bible teaching - these things are SO precious, and they cannot be destroyed by moths or woodworm, or stolen by burglars.
    Somewhere in the filing cabinet there is a folder full of my Scripture Exam certificates - and right now I am looking at the blanket Nana knitted back in the 1960's. But they are just things - strong memories and good values remain!!

    Great post [PS I love the NEW Methodist hymn book, 'singing the faith' even tho I am a Baptist]

  2. We don't have many heirlooms or really any as such from long ago. I like the idea of your faith being an heirloom. Although my Mum is not now a Christian, I am grateful for the Christian church foundation she gave me.xx

  3. Lovely post about the more – most! – important things we can pass on from generation to generation.

  4. A very interesting post. We have a few 'things' passed down a generation or two but my skills ( crafts and gardening) seem to have skipped my children, although they both can cook. My girls have no interest in inheriting my china collection so I've started giving some away.


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