I’m a little overwhelmed with the memories my Dad brought back with him today. So many memories. Pictures of my mother I had not seen in decades. Pictures of my grandparents I have never seen.
My dad is thinning out his life – and sharing his treasures. Having six sons, it is hard for me to be the keeper of this treasure trove. But I am being very fair – things that were from or for one of my brothers, we have put aside for them. Things that we might all want a piece of, I have kept – so I can duplicate then electronically, and share them with everyone.
Some things just belong in a museum somewhere. Original political pins from as far back as 1914 – I can’t keep that stuff, and I can’t give it to my brothers. It doesn’t belong to any of us – it’s history. The Witte Museum in San Antonio will get most of this – they can deal with it as they please – but I know they will care for it.
Photos dating back to the 1800’s. I don’t want the responsibility for keeping those – but I trust a museum will keep them safe – and share them when and how they can.
Mostly, at dinner tonight, my father gave his 1950 Class Ring – from St. Francis High School, Kankakee, IL to his first grandchild – my oldest child. I have no doubt this will become a family heirloom, and that my son Derek will continue the ritual 50+ years from now.
I could not have been more proud – of the gesture, or the way my son accepted the gift. My kids love their grandfather – for who he is, not who they think he should be.
I have boxes of treasures here for my brothers – and some boxes I won’t share with them. I won’ keep these other boxes for myself either – they are things that are larger than my family. Newspapers from 1941. Campaign buttons going back almost 100 years. An original Campbell’s Soup mug – these are things that could stay in our family, and never be appreciated – or they could be shared by generations of people that CAN appreciate them.
All of these things will go to some organization that cares about them, and will care for them. They won’t sit in boxes in someone’s attic.
Except my Father’s class ring. That belongs to my son now. He was honored to receive it, and I imagine one day he will pass it on to his first grandson. An honorable and touching tradition was borne today – and my son was truly touched by the gesture. So was my father.
And so was I.