Friday, February 21, 2014

So What Is A Future Family Treasure Or Heirloom? (February 21, 2014)

Some objects can assume special meaning to their owners and thence possibly to family members in the future -- as I and others have pointed out in posts to genealogy blogs. [See for example, "Family Treasure Exists In The Simplest Of Objects."]

Most often the objects that become family treasures or heirlooms of one sort or another are the very objects that survived because of the special meaning and/or use they had for an ancestor. An ancestor kept the object around because it was functional . . . was an object steeped in habit . . . was an item of beauty . . . or in many cases was an object of some monetary/emotional value (such as an engagement or wedding ring).

It was an inquiry to the most recent "Wordless Wednesday" here at The Prism that led me to ponder the question, "What items or objects do I have today that could become objects considered family treasures or heirlooms by descendants?"  Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog asked what it was that I was holding in the Wordless Wednesday photograph.  It is actually my winter backpacking mitten (warmer than gloves), but the strap from my old daypack can be seen over my shoulder -- so it was not surprising Barbara asked if it was a "knapsack."

VERY coincidentally, I had just two days earlier unearthed my old daypack from a closet I was cleaning.  When I came upon it, memories of its purchase and use flooded back and I took the time to saddle soap its tired looking leather bottom and attachments.  The dear old piece of outdoor gear is pictured above.

I bought the daypack at a backpacking and outdoor gear store in Ft. Collins, Colorado when I was living there for about nine months in 1974 - 75.  According to a small, very faded sewn-in tag rolled upon itself inside the top compartment, the daypack was priced originally at $43.00!  This is surprising because in fall 1974 I only had a part-time job working in the sporting goods department of Sears Roebuck at the Foothills Fashion Mall in Ft. Collins. Forty-three 1974 dollars was a hefty sum for me, so I must have convinced myself that I really needed that daypack for all the hiking I was doing!

The old pack certainly does not owe me a penny. I used it from 1974 until about 2004 when I finally purchased a new and improved daypack for considerably more than $43.00 (about $120.00 if I recall correctly). The Old Daypack did service on my back during day hikes, hikes from base camp during backpacking treks, and tourist trips in such places as Colorado, Arizona, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Upstate New York, Virginia, Canada, Bermuda and places I am surely forgetting.  [Buried in the bottom compartment when I saddle soaped the old pack the other day was the free, blue plastic hooded rain covers they give when you ride the Maiden of the Mist to the foot of Niagara Falls!]

Old Daypack has been with me a long time and so it is no surprise it found its way safely into a closet and not into a swap box at a Scouting gear exchange or some such place. It is an item that means a lot to me because it served me so well for three decades -- and it is not going anywhere so long as I am around. So the question occurs to me, will Old Daypack perhaps become -- in the fullness of time -- a family treasure or heirloom? Will a descendant hold this dear old pack some day and find fascination in holding an item that belonged to and was used by a great grandfather?  You never know . . . but it surely will never happen if I do not keep Old Daypack and pass on just a bit of its story and its meaning. In fact . . .  maybe I just have.

Successor to Old Daypack.  Since 2004 New Daypack has been to Scotland, England,
 Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, and
more than a few trips to the Adirondacks in Upstate New York and elsewhere. It is
getting ready for a trip to Iceland in July and back to the Adirondacks in August!

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Photographs by the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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