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Absent friends.

(25 Posts)
Namsnanny Tue 11-Dec-18 17:01:08

I've been clearing out for Christmas!

A mammoth job in my house, given I have hobbies (clutter) and H is a disorganised hoarder!

It doesn't help when I get waylaid by nostalgia either! Just found my MIL's paperwork, she died in 2012.

In amongst the dust (which left me spluttering!) between the papers which marked the milestones of her life were documents and photos. A baptismal card 1918, confirmation - 1933, rent book - 1939(8/6d per week), identity card 1944, driving test -1971, our wedding invite - 1981, first passport - 1994, and an assortment of news paper clippings showing her and my FIL on their Golden wedding anniversary - 1989, or winning flower shows at the local fete.
They lived in the same house most of their married life.

Stirred up so many emotions. Interest in the information these bits and pieces contain, down to marvelling at the hand writing. Not the least sadness at their passing.

So for all the sorting and clearing and throwing, these rescued scraps of anothers life long gone, will be put back in the odds and ends drawer, in the spare room. Probably to be thrown out when I die.

Ho hum, Christmas is a funny time of year isn't it?

silverlining48 Tue 11-Dec-18 17:14:33

I would also keep these old papers, I couldn’t have thrown them away. It’s the story of your family life.
Speaking as a champion hoarder. I can spend all day supposedly clearing out/ getting rid of things and End up with a few bits to throw away with the majority put back more tidily, from whence it came. Let the next generation make the decision, you never know, they may well find it all of great interest.

Fennel Tue 11-Dec-18 17:20:18

Not so old, but I got a card today from my dear 'best friend' when we were living in France. A photo of them and their house. We went walking the dogs and gossiping together for about 10 years.
I hope we'll always keep in touch.

Namsnanny Tue 11-Dec-18 22:41:07

silverlinging48..I do hope so, but my children are of the 'if I don't use it I don't need it, so chuck it', brigade! So I can quite see everything I held dear being unceremoniously dumped in the tip, Heaven knows I think they'd put me there sometimes wink.

Just sends a shiver of uncertainty down my spine to think of anyones life being discarded just like any old rubbish.

Fennel...Do you keep the cards as keepsakes? I think its lovely you keep in touch, long may it last!

ninathenana Wed 12-Dec-18 08:06:31

I keep a lot of old papers that were PiL's similar to what you have Namsnanny because mum lived with my brother until she went into care he has all her paperwork. We cleared a top cupboard in the spare room a couple of weeks ago and found a long forgotten box that contained the like, including DH's youngest sister's BC. She was born with spina bifida and died in GOSH at 6 wks. I don't think I've ever been through the box before.
It all went back in the box.

Anja Wed 12-Dec-18 08:52:25

My MiL was in the WAAFs during WW2. She got in at only 17 by her own mother falsely signing a declaration of her age. Don’t ask me why there was no birth certificate asked for.

Going through her documents after her death we found the false declaration. She had knocked 6 months off her true age. Not of interest to others but a little piece of family history.

ayse Wed 12-Dec-18 09:13:34

My daughters until recently showed no interest in family history. I have two full boxes of stuff plus other photo albums. Last winter I decided to rationalise but my children seem to be changing their minds so I’ll only get rid of items that don’t add to the story. I’ll try to put them in some order so that it’s easy to follow. I’ve also started to use the old photos as a memory jogger, story write about al the old family tales that have been passed down to me. I’m using the old method of pen and paper plus hard copy of anything written via computer.
It’s difficult to keep focus as you wander into the realms of memory so doing this is a mammoth task and very slow. I’m stalled at the moment so it’s encouraging to hear that others look at their stuff and put it away again.

Riggie Wed 12-Dec-18 13:00:25

I'm doing a family history - so there will be a folder with the family tree and any paper memorabilia, and anything I can found out about the relatives. So papers would go in there. No idea if they'll get passed on further than son but at least I will have tried!!

gillyknits Wed 12-Dec-18 13:23:38

I made an album of all the memories that my grandma and mother collected. Newspaper clippings of engagement,wedding, births and deaths. Their ration books and identity cards and photos of grandma working in a munitions factory. I just felt that they needed to be saved for future generations (even if they don’t want them)!

grand1 Wed 12-Dec-18 14:58:22

I used to be of the mindset that if we don't use it, we don't need it. Keep in mind the reason for doing such in younger people is lack of space,particularly if they have children.

As they get older and they get more space (with moving to a larger place due to a growing family or their children grow up and move out) they will likely start to see value in these things. I started to see the value in familial history as my children started to become adults and have their own families.

Keep these things safe and preserved until that time and remind them often of their significance. I'm American and my family has letters written during the American Civil War (1865). My 4th great grandfather wrote out letters to my 4th Great grandmother (his wife) about the war and they've been well kept within our family and historians have asked to have them (we said no). I have acquired China, flatware, linens, glassware, furniture, and an old native American drum that's been in our family for over 100 years now. Also jewelry. My daughter and her husband moved into their new larger home last year and is only now interested in such things. This year they took the family ornaments for their tree and I'll be gifting my daughter a full China set and China cabinet for their home.

We keep things like the letters and photographs in a wooden chest (also built by ancestors).

My great grandparents used to live in various places around the world because of my great grandfather's job. They purchased furniture our family now treasures from places like Africa. Indonesia and Venezuela. These things have historical significance not only within our family but also within the ever changing world.

During the depression, my great grandmother paid her rent one month with her wedding ring set. She eventually got them back. During the unrest in Indonesia, my great grandparents were in the last group of people allowed to leave with their belongings. I have pieces of ivory from Africa when it was acceptable practice to harvest such. Sadly and ironically, the ivory was used as elephant tusks on wooden carved elephant bookends. I have an actual Native American drum as my 4th great grandmother was full blooded Native American. The drum head is made from buffalo hide. The base was carved and burned from wood. The rope was twined by Natives from horse hair. It was passed along to me by my great grandmother.

crazyH Wed 12-Dec-18 20:24:30

I have Xmas cards from family and friends who have passed ......every year I bring them out and just look through them with fondness and tears. One particular friend, I miss so much. I really need her now, to tell her about all that's going on and for her to tell me "don't worry , it will all come out in the wash" .

Jalima1108 Wed 12-Dec-18 20:58:58

You could put them in a scrap book Namsnanny, then someone may be more inclined to keep them to pass on to future generations.
Just old documents left in a drawer could be thrown out one day.

I really should take my own advice smile

Day6 Wed 12-Dec-18 21:26:47

What a lovely post Namsnanny

As another sentimental old fool I have clung to bits and pieces from my past - old letters (who writes letters these days?) from friends of yore, when we were young, and from my Mum and Dad to me when I was a student in the 1970s. The world was different then and reading about what was happening in their lives is a lovely walk down memory lane.

I wonder what our grown up children will do with all the bits and pieces we find precious? Old letters will mean nothing to my children. I wish I could be brave and read them for one last time then throw them away.

That reminds me of a song my Mum used to sing..

There's nothing left for me
Of days that used to be
They're just a memory
Among my souvenirs

Some letters sad and blue
A photograph or two
I see a rose from you
Among my souvenirs

A few more tokens rest
Within my treasure chest
And, though they do their best
To give me consolation
I count them all apart
And, as the teardrops start
I find a broken heart.......

Among my souvenirs

Fennel Wed 12-Dec-18 22:43:56

Showing off now, but I have 2 paintings of the sailing ships of which my ?gggGF was master, in the C19th.
Eldest son has one, and I have the other, with pride of place in our hallway.
He used to sail from Tyneside across to Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. Probably with coal.

crazyH Wed 12-Dec-18 22:45:13

What a lovely song Day6

Cece44 Thu 13-Dec-18 11:09:04

Maybe you could put some of the photos etc in a frame and put it on display!

Witzend Fri 14-Dec-18 09:21:43

So difficult, isn't it?
My father died in 1989, my mother not till 2015.
I still have, and can't bear to chuck, all the big birthday and Valentine's cards my father sent her - she'd kept them so carefully.

Also the 'lucky horseshoe' thing my mother had for their wedding in late 1939 - still in its box.

Plus there's the lovely handmade, silk christening gown and robe - with lace and minute pintucks - which was for my father, born 1916 and probably made by his granny, who was a lady's maid before she married. My mother wanted to use them for us, but we were all too big and fat!!
Someone suggested the V&A, which I might try.

There's also my Granny's large collection of postcards - they were in an album which I had to chuck since it was falling to bits - some dated as early as 1906, some of which are interesting - mentions of Emmeline Pankhurst, and the addresses, which have been a help with family history.

I dare say most of these will be chucked eventually - one dd loves all memorabilia, but with 2 little ones she barely has room for all the stuff they've got now. I will tell them both not to feel they have to keep anything they just don't have room for.

grannyactivist Fri 14-Dec-18 10:33:12

Please don't leave these documents to be thrown away as local history societies would usually be delighted to receive them to add to their collections.

Jalima1108 Fri 14-Dec-18 18:08:44

Day6 my mother used to sing that song too.

prestbury Mon 31-Dec-18 15:09:25

Always keep old documents and photos so they may be passed on to your relatives or as a previous poster said to interested local history societies.

I have many photos that have been passed down over the years and ensure they are all kept safe as well as scanned for future generations.

A photo of my Great, Great Grandparents taken between 1870 and 1880

They look like happy souls

Namsnanny Sat 12-Jan-19 23:54:50

Where abouts did your GGGP live prestbury? I don't know why but I thought of S. Wales or perhaps up't North? Because of the brick wall maybe.
He looks distinguished with his fob watch chain!!

I start thinking about all the what ifs, that the photo brings up. Such as why that day, where are they, did they dress especially for that occasion..birthday, anniversary etc.?
Before you know it half the days gone. smile

Witzend...We have one or two lace and pintuck christening gowns from my husbands family. I was soooo looking forward to my GC wearing them, if only for a photo, as not everyone wants a christening do they?
But my daughter was adamant even though they had a christening, her children weren't going to wear frilly girlie things! No asking could persuade her to just let us have a photo of the baby in the clothes (taken on another day) for prosterity. I just loved the idea of all the family babies being in that outfit.
Sigh! Such a shame I thought.

sukalu88 Wed 30-Oct-19 08:52:35

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Bathsheba Wed 30-Oct-19 09:09:53


Callistemon Wed 30-Oct-19 10:09:33

Could you put them all into a scrapbook, namsnanny?
Odd bits of old papers could be thrown out by your DC but perhaps a scrapbook with these occasions put into chronological order may be treasured.

Callistemon Wed 30-Oct-19 10:10:25

Oh! I see it's an old thread