As a historian, I delight in old things. I like to dig into diaries and letters telling the stories of generations after generations. Pictures are an amazing world to explore, I’ve recently been through so many family ones which included things from when my parents were young and not yet married. A side of them I’ve never imagined.
I like to stroll around antiques shops fantasising about where an object came from, and the stories it could tell, and what my future home would look like if I had this and that.
My favourite thing about weddings is that the bride has to wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
I’ve nearly got married once. It was to someone whose family had many strong traditions, and heirlooms including a Victorian baptism gown. My mother has kept my baptism gown for some reason, and it looks as new as it gets. There are very few things that are handed down from my family, and some I have lost throughout the years. There is a sense of fleeting away, no dynastic view. We move on, one generation to the next, each of us with their particular things, a sense of fierce individualism driving us forward. Shared memories of a shared present, single fragments of a shared past.
Native Americans have this idea of a community that transcends time, and that chiefs making decisions should consider the welfare of seven generations to come.
Looking back, it’d be someone at the dawn of the 19th century thinking of me.
I’ve suddenly realised that our past does not condition our future, unless you let it. The next generation in my family will be a generation that is half the generation of another family. They will have their own traditions and heirlooms, or we’ll have a chance to create our own for the seventh generation.
As a family in our own right, some of the things we’ll pass on will be ours only anyway. However, one thing I want to pass on is my mother’s wedding dress. It could be my something old.
She was married in August 1987, next year it’ll be 30 years ago, and the prospects of getting married so soon are very limited anyway.
Or it could be my something borrowed, if I can get my hands on a vintage headpiece.
I’d love to build a family home to pass on. I’ve always been wary of owning the building because inheriting one ties you to a specific place, and I have never felt comfortable putting roots somewhere before. I’d still like to leave things. Objects are something you possess that can be moved around the world. They give you a sense of ownership and belonging to somewhere while thousands of miles away.
I dream of a big library with all the books that I loved the most when I was alive, so that people would be able to get to know me by reading those words knowing they were dear to me. I want to leave footprints in the way all the rooms look, and see them disappear piece by piece to be cherished in a life that will follow my own, hopefully still in seven generations.
This post is part of #LoveBlog, a daily blog link-up every day in February with daily prompts. Today I’m co-hosting on the theme of Family Heirlooms.