I have acquired a few family heirlooms over the years and I dearly treasure them. Some are packed away but I try to keep as many as I can out for display. I even use some of them regularly.
Pete Miller’s old trunk is in our basement. Pete (1878-1957) was my granduncle, the son of Jacob Miller and his second wife Margaretha Strabel. Pete carved Pete Miller, Willshire, Ohio into the wood on the front of the turn-of-the-century trunk.
We hosted the Bennetts on Christmas Day so I tried to have a nice holiday display that included some of my family’s old treasures. I opened up Pete Miller’s old trunk and filled it with toys. It looked right at home between the Christmas tree and the fireplace.
I was pleased with the way the trunk looked and I showed a photo of it to one of my co-workers. I was taken aback when she said, “Look at that old toy top!” (Emphasis on the word old.) Old! Seriously? I received that toy top one year for Christmas. I remember it well. As it spun around the colors ran together and it made a whistling sound. It is not that old! Really.
We rarely use our fireplace in the basement and the inside of it looked rather bare. I recalled that we had an electric log set in our fireplace at home when I was little. I enjoyed watching the revolving light move and glow like real flames of a fire. A couple years ago I asked my parents if they still had those electric logs. They did and they gave them to me. The motor still runs and now we have a “fire” in our fireplace. It actually looks better than the log sets I see in stores today. It must be over 50 years old, just like my old toy top. I am so grateful that my parents saved just about everything.
We found this nice old primitive cupboard while cleaning out the Miller barn this past summer. We believe that my grandfather Carl Miller made it and they used it in their utility room. Now it is in our basement, housing other family heirlooms.
I remember the plates we used every day when I was growing up and hoped to include them in my collection of family heirlooms. I could picture the roses around the rim and I asked my mom if she remembered them, too. And if she still had any of them. Sadly, she said that none of them had survived. However, she did have some accessory pieces that were not often used. She still had a pitcher, a sugar and creamer, a platter and a couple serving dishes. Maybe some of you remember the Priscilla pattern from the Household Institute that was popular back in the 50s. I was able to find and acquire a couple of the matching plates from eBay. These dishes bring back memories of our family meals.
From time to time I will share some of the other ways I use our family heirlooms.