Inheriting Memories

There are so many things we inherit from our parents, grandparents and ancestors we’ve never even met. Names and stories we don’t  know flow through us. They are the scattered pieces that make us whole. Our passions, temperaments and talents that make up  our DNA.

We also inherit kingdoms, priorities, minerals rights, recipes and debt. 

But the most precious inheritances are memories. As a writer, the stories of the past fascinate me and often work their way in to my characters’ narratives.  I have a story I want to write based a WW 2 diary that was passed down from one of my grandfathers, Forrest French. I never got to meet him. Maybe he also gave me  my love of journaling?

What brought this musing to mind? My daughters inherited a Hamilton mint green and chrome drugstore milkshake maker from my grandmother.  

Me-Maw's Drug Store Milkshake Maker
Me-Maw’s Drug Store Milkshake Maker

Me-Maw had this wondrous appliance sitting on her counter for as all long as I can remember. She had worked at her brother’s Main Street Drug Store in Leakey, Texas and somehow got to keep this one. 

Norris Fisher, owner of local drug store in Leakey Tx. Photo by Marc St Gil November 1973
Norris Fisher, owner of local drug store in Leakey Tx. Photo by Marc St Gil November 1973

(I found this photo of  Uncle Norris on Tom Clark’s blog) http://tomclarkblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/marc-st-gil-wading-in-water-leakey-texas.html

Every trip to Me-Maw’s (and we visited a great deal) would get us an orange plastic cup of a chocolate milkshake.  And as time has a way of marching on, I soon found myself as a mother of four.  Me-Maw was serving them the special treat.

My oldest daughter, also the oldest granddaughter and great-granddaughter, got a promise from Me-Maw that she would inherit the appliance. I find it amazing what people will fight over after a death of a loved one. As humans, we get very emotional over the strangest things. I have seen families torn apart over the smallest properties.  Of course at times, a mix of greed, grief and regret can become an ugly cocktail of emotions that boils over to hurt others.

So standing in the spacious country kitchen sorting through the property and family heirlooms can be emotional. My father had passed before his parents so my sisters stood with my uncles. One of my uncles made a point that Me-Maw wanted Katrina and Storm to have her milkshake maker. Despite everyone wanting it, and Katrina being a great-granddaughter, they all agreed.  That in itself brought Katrina to tears.

Now whenever we have guests, Katrina loves making milkshakes for everyone. She might have inherited more than just the mint green appliance from Me-Maw. Like a desire to show her love by serving?

I do know we inherited more than a milkshake maker, because warm memories of family and love are wrapped tightly around the little machine.

 Do you have an item you love because of the memories and places tied to it, or regrets of a lost  family heirloom?

16 comments

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  1. Linda

    I have used that same green mixer!! So glad to know that it is in good hands! I worked in the drug store for Norris and Jo Ann for 2 summers and had the time of my life and many great memories. One of my poems even grew from memories of those two summers!

    • jolenenavarro

      It still works. Oh, I want to read that poem! Did you go to that link with all the pitures from 1973? There is some faces you would know. They have one of Grandpa Jones on his porch playing music.

      • Linda

        I have seen that link with all the photos, my brother is in one when he worked at Kenny Shackelfords service station. The poem is called “Cupfull of Memories.” I will get you a link to it.

  2. Joni Hahn

    I have my grandmother’s old Betty Crocker cookbook. I didn’t want to get into the bickering about heirlooms when she died so I let everyone take what they wanted and waited to see what was left. It is the first cookbook I pull out when I want to make something special.

    Someone would have to pry it out of my kung fu grip before I would give it up. 🙂

    Great post!

    • jolenenavarro

      My sisters and I promised ourselves we would not fight – overall I think we did pretty well. One of my sisters did get the Betty Crocker cookbook – the red hardback. It had pancakes mix dripped on it and all sort of other smudges. Growing up I didn’t know you could buy a “mix”. I thaink that was the first thing I learned to cook.
      Has one of your children already claimed your grandmother’s cookbook?

      • Joni Hahn aka Sophie Greyson

        Not yet. I have to wait and see who my son ends up marrying. If she likes to cook, she will get it. Right now, my future s-i-l likes to cook more than my daughter. =)

  3. Diana Beebe

    Great post! I have the folding card table and chairs that my grandparents owned. They were filthy and nasty, but I didn’t care.

    One family heirloom that I’m sad about is the set of silk animal ornaments that were my brother’s. Our mom gave each of us a set when we got married. They represented the time we spent in Hong Kong. When my brother got divorced, his ex-wife took them. I wish he still had them to enjoy with his family.

  4. Leslie P Garcia

    Great blog, Jolene. And I don’t have any particular thing–but the love of baseball–the Atlanta Braves–and the Kentucky Derby we shared through our lifetime, even when I was driven out of the family. Every opening day, every 1st Saturday in May, I knew what Mom was doing, and that she was thinking of me just as I was of her.

    • jolenenavarro

      I agree, events and sport teams can have strong emotional ties also. Did you ever get to waer a big hat for the Derby?

      • jolenenavarro

        The line “and the land across the Jordan was not a state of mind” is breathtaking. Thank you for sharing. I wonder when Mew-Maw got the milkshake mixer? She had it in all my memories -which started somewhere in the early 70s. Thank you so much for sharing. Can I use the photo on my Pinterest page for my storyboards of my small town?

  5. Linda

    Of course you can use the photo. I think that the man sitting on the one cypress stumps is John Ricks or possibly Skeet Willingham. I know that the green mixer was there in 1964 and I think that there may have been two of them but not sure on that. You can use the poem too if you want.

  6. Judy Moldenhauer

    “Cupful of Memories” is a beautiful poem. I had forgotten about my Mom and Aunts would pour their coffee in their saucers to cool it down at bit. I don’t think I see anybody do that anymore.

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