My husband and I have been fortunate enough to have been gifted some lovely pieces of family furniture recently and many others throughout the years. Some are antiques and some are not as old but are very fine handmade articles. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what they mean to me as someday these items will be passed down to our children. I wonder if they will have the same appreciation. I wonder if they will consider them “expensive antiques” or “priceless antiques”? There is a big difference. Let me explain. An expensive antique is a piece you can put a price tag on and let it be sold. A priceless antique is a piece that has sentimental value, one that you don’t consider the monetary value but you think of your relationship to the item or the person to whom it had belonged.
We recently acquired a fine dining table and chairs. I don’t think these are actually considered antique since they were built in the 70’s; however, these are beautifully handmade of walnut. What I really see beyond the beauty are fabulous memories. This is the place of much laughter over family holiday dinners. It is the table that I for the first time, after only dating my husband for a week, nervously met his extended family for Thanksgiving dinner. It is the same table I joyously returned to a month later for Christmas dinner. I envision my husband as a child coloring with his crayons at that table and then as a teenager doing his homework. This table symbolizes hospitality and love. It is priceless in my eyes.
We have countless pieces that belonged to both sets of his grandparents. We could never part with any of them. My favorite is an oak server with a mirrored back and claw feet. It is absolutely gorgeous. This belonged to my husband’s grandmother who died when his father was only about twelve. There are no memories of her attached to it, but is something that serves as a connection to her.
When my grandfather was placed in a nursing home, my mother and her sisters had an estate sale and sold the majority of his things. I bought two oak dressers. I don’t even really remember them in his bedroom or have any recollection of the dressers, but because they belonged to him I wanted them. Because they belonged to my beloved Big Daddy, I think of his sweet smile and gentle touch every time I open a drawer on either chest.
There are other pieces that I won’t mention or that actually deserves a post devoted entirely to it. I am grateful that we are the benefactors of such lovely pieces of craftsmanship. I hope that as we pass these along to our children that they feel the love and cherish the memories. For love and memories are priceless.