Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.
This writing prompt comes at a very good time for me. I’m getting married in nine days. (Wahoo!!!) Like many brides, I have been thinking about my wedding since I was a little girl. My little sister and I have been talking about it since we were quite young. I may or may not have started a Pinterest board for my dream wedding before I even had a Prince Charming, just so that I could have inspiration. Thinking about those things made me happy. Going to family weddings over the years gave me an idea of how to host an elegant soiree, but then my sweetheart proposed and it was almost a game changer.
All those things I thought I had to do were suddenly less important. For instance, my family attends church in Jacksonville, Florida and it really is our family church. My grandparents were married there. My parents were married there. I was christened there. If I hadn’t been a military child, forced to move every few years, I’m quite sure all my life milestones would have been celebrated there as well. As a teenager, I always told myself (and my sister, and my best friend, and you get the gist) that I would be married there. It is a beautiful tradition and I wanted to be the third generation to be married in such a beautiful, meaningful place. But then, reality set in. I lived in the DC area when my boyfriend became my fiance. He lived in Connecticut and is in the Navy, so I would be obliged to move thither. I could ostensibly plan our wedding from far far away, but it would be more difficult than I would like. So. I moved to New England. I found a beautiful new church to attend. It is OK that it is not my family’s church because most of my family is traveling hither, and that is what is most important.
Like many brides-to-be, I have a constant rhyming thought these days: “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue–and a sixpence in her shoe!” I actually decided on many things for each, which is OK. But mostly, I had fun deciding on my “something old.”
When I was still in college, my grandmother gave me a bracelet that belonged to her mother. It was costume jewelry, but it was beautiful and sparkly and lovely. I wore it in my senior voice recital and to the Navy Sub Ball and to general very fancy occasions. I knew, the day he proposed, that it would be one of my “something olds.” I never met my great-grandmother, but she will be with me, helping me sparkle.
I also have now had two bridal showers. One of them was heirloom themed, and my mother and grandmother sent me special gifts. I received very old monogrammed linen guest towels, some have been in my family for several generations. I’m just thrilled thinking of the history there, of the women who’ve gone before me that received them first. And I was gifted with equally old handwritten recipes. My mother let me know the family tree branches from whence they came, and after the honeymoon when things have settled down a bit for me, I plan on cooking all of them (not at once of course though) and seeing how they taste! Some of the recipes are things I’ve eaten since my own childhood. There is a certain southern macaroni and cheese recipe that I grew up eating. Others are less familiar, but I’m going to make sure they’re all a staple in my kitchen, like they were for the ladies who came before me.
History, especially family history, is very important to me. I like to know where I came from, so to speak. Their experiences made them who they are, which had a hand in shaping me, in some ways more than others.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40990836@N07/5516488862″>antique-linens_20110226_007</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>