Dear Things

What personal belongings do you hold most dear?

I am not really a thing person, it is the person behind the things or the memories that make them dear to me. I think the personal belonging that means the most to me is the grandfather clock that is at our home in Arkansas.

The clock was owned by my husband’s grandparents. They filled the role of grandparent in my life also as my mothers’ parents died before I was born. My father’s dad died when I was in elementary school. And my grandmother wrote me off from 1997 when my father died until October 2017 just months before she passed away. We lived with his grandparents during our early marriage and with our first child.

The grandfather clock in their home always felt so much bigger. In their home it was surrounded with other woodwork shelves with glass cabinets. Grandma always wanted to make sure that it was running and properly cared for and grandpa always jumped to do it. It was important to them, and it is a beautiful reminder of two beautiful people in my life.

Honestly, I always felt a little out of place, but they always accepted and loved me and my daughter. They would correct me like their own, and celebrate me also. So when they passed away that was the only thing that I could think about having to continue to honor them. When we moved to Nee Mexico we were renting and had no idea if we would stay or not, so we left the clock with our daughter. I look forward to getting it moved to our home in the near future.

The other personal belongings that mean a lot to me are my crosses. I got my first cross from my cousin, who is really more of a sister to me. It is red ceramic over some iron detail. She got it for me when we moved back to Arkansas from Missouri. Then I got my second cross, it was made out of rubble from the Joplin tornado in 2011 that destroyed the hospital where I worked.

It has been a little over a decade and I now have 66 crosses. Each represents something special – a place I visited, a friendship, time with family, a special gift from someone. I have crosses from all but two places I have traveled, Turkey (although I made one with pictures from Ephesus) and Seattle, WA. Some have been made by myself and my grandchildren, some purchased at mass stores, and some made by individual artists.

It is not the crosses in and of themself that I value, but the memories and people they represent. They are each special to me, they hold value in my heart, regardless of their monetary value.

I also have a small collection of nativity scenes and angels (displayed in the grandfather clock). My mother started the collections, and so they are not something that I have continued to collect since her death, except at times a nativity scene. I did not know she was purchasing the collections. I would love to have the other pieces but will never justify the expense. I had briefly seen them while packing her stuff, but did not discover them until after her death. One figurine has Van Gogh’s A Starry Night, my favorite painting on it. The other is part of a Bradford Exchange collection, and she only had purchased two or three pieces (Mary with Jesus, Joseph, and a star pedestal). I had admired it in a magazine, and she started purchasing it. My larger set is one we found together after many years of searching for one, it has the Bible Story on each of the characters.

I hold these personal things dear, not because of what they are but because of the people and memories that they remind me of whom I hold dear. There is nothing wrong with having things as long as the things don’t have me.

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