Family heirlooms.. what’s in your grandmother’s closet?


Family heirlooms have always held a certain fascination for me. I’ve wished and wished that my family would have hung onto more… usually this wish relates to documents and jewelry, but a few bits of furniture, china and silver would have been nice as well. This Christmas, my mom asked her mother not to send her any presents. Instead, she wanted an heirloom that had been hiding away in a closet for decades.

What my mom wanted wasn’t jewelry or silver, it’s a set of 10 postcards from World War. My grandmother, who is German, missed out on many of the items from the estate of her parents. Living in the US, her brothers split up all the items of value and left the dregs to her. What they didn’t realize is that what she did receive would become some of the most meaningful family mementos we have. In almost mint condition, this set is an amazing artifact from the war…

“Weltkreig 1913/15

This set of 10 cards, each sent individually to the family over a series of many months, documents all the stages a soldier goes through. From the sadness of deployment to the daily hardships while out fighting battles.


The final card depicts the joy of homecoming. Nearing what he believed was to be the end of his time serving in the army and with a brief leave on the horizon, he sent the card anticipating the happy homecoming of a visit to his young family and a break from the hardship of war. In a sad and eerie twist, the card arrived safely home to his family, he did not.

The only problem with the set? 55 years ago someone in our family decided to “preserve” the cards by gluing them all onto a piece of cardboard. I would have loved to see what was being written to family back home during such a trying time.

I wanted to share this because as a new year begins, many of us think of what we can do to redo, revamp and improve our homes and lives. I love when a room or space looks and feels complete but this year let’s remember not to rush the process. For me, a major resolution is to make sure everything I bring in, put up or purchase is something I love. If it’s has a backstory or special meaning to me, all the better. Better to live with a blank spot on the wall or with an entryway sans table or a half finished living room over just buying to fill a blank space. Look around you and look to others. You’ll find the right piece at the right time and in turn create a space that’s well and truly yours!


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