Sunday, February 25, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 8 Heirloom


As the oldest child in the family, I have had the good fortune to have received many heirlooms over time and as my siblings have established their own homes, I have been able to share many things with them. My brother has a chandelier from my mother’s house that once hung in my grandmother’s dining room. Others have mom’s silver and china. But I have the Madonna!

The Madonna is a marble bust of the Blessed Virgin. She is eight inches high and about ten inches wide weighing at least five pounds. She is made of a combination or blue-grey veined marble with her face and neck carved of a plain white marble.

She has had a place of honor in the living rooms of four generations of our family. I don't know where her journey began or where it will end but this is her story as I know it.

I first remember her in front of a mirror in my grandmother’s living room. The mirror was almost floor to ceiling on the wall across from the sofa. About two feet above floor level was a beautiful wooden shelf. Almost like a hearth. It was about ten inches deep. And there she sat. Watching as I danced in front of the mirror. Watching as my grandmother Alice read her newspaper in her chair with the tall lamp illuminating the area as she moved her magnifying glass over the print. It was my privilege to stand behind the chair while my grandmother read her paper and brush her long silver hair.

Eventually the lovely lady moved on to my mother’s living room where she observed our comings and goings from her place of honor in the bookshelves. She shared those shelves with my mother’s treasured books. All of the Readers Digest Condensed Books with the faux leather binding under the paper dust jackets, books from my grandfather’s collection, and the works of such authors as J M Barrie, Robert Louis Stevenson among others.

Still later the lady moved into my home where once again she took up residence in the living room. As she occupied her place on the fruitwood cabinet just inside the front door, once again she kept track of our visitors as well as our own activities.

Now she lives in my daughter’s home where her place of honor is atop the piano. I find this very fitting since everyone in my daughter’s family is very musical.

Undoubtedly, she will find a future home with one of my grandchildren and hopefully the tradition will continue long into the future.