The Holidays are Coming- Time to Ask Questions!


As you get together with your families over the holidays, try to pay attention to the physical things around you and be sure to ask questions!  That serving platter your aunt uses every year, what’s the story behind it? Where did it come from? Is it a family heirloom? How about that old portrait that’s hung next to the fireplace for as long as you can remember- who is that person?  Is that Grandpa’s old chair he is sitting in? These are the stories that are easily lost- the aunt passes away and the platter is donated to the thrift shop- no one realizes it was the only thing that your great-grandmother was able to salvage when her home was destroyed in the big flood of ‘07, and that it had been a wedding gift to her mother’s parents before that.

A few years ago while spending Christmas with my mother I thought it might be interesting to ask her about some of the items around the house- things that had always been there but that I’d never really thought much about.  Mom was 86 at the time, but she still remembered many details! One surprise was a coffee table- a bit unusual, but I hadn’t ever really looked at it- it had always just been there. Turns out my dad made it, right around the time they were married!  There were many such surprises- the old mantle clock was given to her by her dad when she went away to school- we’d always assumed it was one of her garage sale finds. These items now have much more meaning!

Capture and preserve the stories of those things- CatalogIt!

Dan Rael