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Let’s Hear it for: Old, Used, Recycled

April 2, 2021

Another Way for week of March 26, 2021

Let’s Hear it for: Old, Used, Recycled

(Editor’s Note: Second in an eight-week series, “Let’s Hear It,” with thoughts on trends.)

Do you like old? Shabby chic? Vintage? If there’s an opposite to this perhaps its sleek, gray, upscale, modern.

They say Gen Xers and younger don’t go so much for old and antique and yard sale finds. What things are precious, and what things are just old?

Aunt Ressie’s sewing box (my husband’s aunt)

I have an old sewing box that is very cute, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with it other than keep it in the guest bedroom. It was a keepsake from my husband’s Aunt Ressie. We have a lot of those from Aunt Ressie because she married very late in life and had no children. The nieces and nephews—and then her great nieces and nephews—were her kids. She bought stuff for them every Christmas until they reached the age of maybe 10 or 12. The sewing box is beautiful and I’m guessing it was something that was passed down to her. It has old vintage wrappers of the tiniest needles, wooden spools, and darning eggs.

To me, the scissors–sharp as knives–is the most valuable thing here. My mother guarded her sewing scissors carefully!
Remember darning eggs? My mother used a light bulb for hers….

Things that bring memories are hard to let go of or pass on. A friend, Ronda, recently posted this comment on Facebook along with pictures of two cuckoo clocks. They moved to a different home last year in a rough year when she also lost her beloved mother.

“My dear Hubby hung two cuckoo clocks. The first one was my grandfather’s, my mother’s father’s clock. It’s old but I don’t know how much it’s worth. Priceless to me. The second one, is more valuable as it is handmade from the clock makers in the Black-forest, Germany. I watched my parents pick it out and I listened to them tell one another how much they liked the love birds. The trip down the Rhine River with my parents will always be a treasured memory and this clock represents that lovely memory. A few minutes ago, it cuckoo-ed eight o’clock for the first time in our home. I laughed out loud. Who knew I would love cuckoo clocks?”

We have a friend who had a piece of wood from an old buggy harness called a “wagon singletree.” He loves antiques. He asked my husband to use a drill press to make a hole in it to create a light fixture for his kitchen featuring upside down colanders. You may have seen such. It turned out pretty cool. Maybe I’ll think of a special use for the sewing box.

I remember interviewing a favorite professor for a radio program I worked for. I was probably in my late thirties. By that time he was in his early 60s, Something he said in that interview stuck with me. He wanted to get out of his rut as a college professor and wanted to see how different people lived. He took a sabbatical and worked in a Sears store in their stockroom. Some of the coworkers began to think he was a lackey for management. We were talking about acquiring things and he said what he was about in his sixties was getting rid of things, paring back, not buying more.

I feel like I’m somewhat at that stage of life. Especially this past year of the pandemic. New clothes seemed unimportant, especially in retirement. I’ve pondered how to cut back on what we have. I even hate to throw things away that have only been used one time—like the Styrofoam carryout boxes from a restaurant. If I can wash them and get a second use out of them, that makes it feel more worthwhile. Yet I don’t want to fill my cabinets and drawers with used Styrofoam containers. My favorite thing to do is fill them with food to pass on to my elderly neighbors.

P.S. May we all keep a sacred and holy Good Friday today. Blessings!

***

Precious mementos, or junk?

Do you like old things? Do your children or grandchildren?

Are they precious mementos, or junk?

Do you lean toward wanting to sell things, or just give them away to family?

I’d love to hear comments here or send your own stories to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

5 Comments
  1. You know I like old things and have a few in our “new” house: Grandma’s oak table, an ancient chair, Aunt Ruthie’s framed embroidery. One of our grandsons appreciates the “old” too and has asked me to earmark a few things for him, like a glass pitcher engraved with the letter B.

    Many Mennonite ladies in Lancaster County had sewing boxes you pictured here though I don’t remember Mother having one. Yes, sharp scissors are a must, especially when cutting fabric.

    I noticed you mentioned your mother using a light bulb for darning – ha!

    Choice line: ” . . . getting rid of things, paring back, not buying more.” Your post recalled a quote posted on a bedroom dresser: “To save, one must value. and to throw out, one must value moving on,” this from Mary Peacock.

    How wonderful that you fill Styrofoam containers with food for the elderly.
    Thanks for all the nostalgia and happy thoughts today, Melodie! 🙂

    • Yes you have shared a trove of lovely treasures over the years. God bless grandsons that take an interest. I have one great nephew who always engages my mom in a long conversation when he’s with her, he’s very sweet. They went on a masked “date” last Christmas sponsored by my sister (he’s a college student, couldn’t afford to take mom out) and it was likely the highlight of her Christmas. (My sister’s wonderful idea.)

      We had a “moving” moment this week when a small outdoor plastic shed ripped apart in stiff winds. I’ve been wanting to rid the property of the eyesore, which we accepted from an elderly couple at our church when they moved to smaller quarters. I don’t think Homer will mind that it served us well for 10 years but now it will make one woman very happy for it to go to the landfill. 🙂

  2. Oh, far, far too many things do I keep and treasure. Alas, neither of my sons are sentimental and don’t want any of it, other than pictures. Luckily I have one niece…..poor thing, I joke that she’s going to get all of my ‘treasures’ AND all of her moms. LOL
    Loved this post and seeing Aunt Ressie’s sewing box.

  3. Thanks, Trisha, for this lovely collaborating comment! You know, that reminds me of one way I’m keeping things–in photos, mostly online now, although I do still get photos printed at times. I can bear to part with certain books if I take a photo, etc. Keepsakes the same way. My oldest daughter, after this post, said she would be happy for one of Aunt Ressie’s darning eggs. I don’t even mend socks any more ….. 🙂 But I will be sure to pass one of them on to her soon! Speaking of eggs–Happy Easter to you, dear friend that I’ve never met!

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