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When I was a kid I visited my grandparents in a small quiet suburb just outside of Denver, Colorado every summer. Year after year, my arrival would go the same way: I’d be scooped up from the airport and smothered with kisses, drive hastily back home and enjoy a nice lunch of tuna salad or grilled cheese, and then immediately abscond to the basement of my grandparent’s modest home to play with my grandfather’s electric train set and vintage cameras.
Every visit, my Grandparents would spend time and energy walking me through their possessions, like those trains and cameras, telling me an item’s backstory and the emotional connection it carried. It’s no wonder that from a very young age I knew these items weren’t just things – they were a piece of family history. A way to preserve special memories and happy times and something I looked forward to seeing every summer, even though I’d spent countless hours with them the trip before.
So it only made sense that when my grandparents died, learning about or remembering the history of specific items wasn’t that much of a challenge. My family and I had a strong oral history of each piece and because of that it was easy to separate the keepsakes from the donations.
Unfortunately, for some people that just isn’t the case, and that’s why Heirloom Vault plays a pivotal role in preserving not just items but family stories behind them.
Here’s a few main ways staying up-to-date with family heirlooms has changed my life and helped create a lasting family legacy.
Intrinsic value versus perceived value
Imagine your family member has just passed away and you’ve been tasked to help go through their home to prepare it for the transition. You pull open a drawer and find a number of beautiful necklaces, rings and hair pins, but you’re unsure what their story is because your grandmother was never very flashy with her jewelry. That leads you to believe they may have belonged to her mom, or her grandmother.
Unfortunately your mother never gave you any insight into these pieces so you’re left wondering not just if they hold value, but if they hold emotional value.
With Heirloom Vault, you’ll never be questioning the value of an item – you’ll know exactly when, where and how it was acquired and by whom. With Heirloom Vault, a faded vintage diamond ring becomes the engagement ring your grandmother wore every day for 60 years of marriage to your grandfather. That dusty old camera becomes the Leica camera your grandfather used to shoot the film snapshot of a train that won the 1981 National Newspaper Snapshot Award.
Never again will you question the value (whether monetary or emotional) of a family item.
Save the headache
Another powerful result of the time spent discussing my grandparent’s possessions with them so frequently was that when it came time to actually divvy it up, it didn’t interfere with the grieving process. While there was some back and forth, the majority of time after my family’s loss was spent celebrating them and the legacy they left.
Create family traditions and connections
It’s a really powerful moment when you realize that something has been passed on for generations and you know how many family hands have touched it, used it, worn it or shared it.
For younger generations, there’s a huge opportunity to use Heirloom Vault to bond with their grandparents and vice versa. Discussed cherished heirlooms and how they came to be is something that doesn’t lose its luster from generation to generation. It’s never too early to know your family history and start being proud of what your ancestry has created.
I’m now married and planning on starting a family soon and the idea of introducing my kids and grandkids to a service like Heirloom Vault seems like a no-brainer. I cannot wait to carry on the tradition of bonding over my favorite things. My grandfather’s old cameras are sitting on a shelf in my living room, and stones from my grandmother’s engagement ring are currently part of the wedding band I wear every day. It’s a beautiful thing.
Want to get started cataloging your cherished items? – OPEN YOUR VAULT NOW