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Sharyn J
April 1st, 2014, 08:55 PM
I'm still in the process of clearing out dad's house. Today, I asked my brother to get the rest of the boxes from the attic so I can sort through things. This whole process has been quite emotional for both of us. The house we grew up, my mom & dad's things, including their personal love letters during the war. Grandmother's hand crocheted table cloths, doilies, and handkerchiefs, great grandma's quilts and stuff, and more than 70 years of photographs. Old crystal vases, many things from my great-great grandmothers.

Ok, I sat down and cried after I saw the bundles of love letter between my mom and dad during the war. I didn't read the letters as I didn't need to do that. I've always known my entire life how much they loved each other. It was just so poignant that mom kept every single letter! Who does that? My mom, I guess. They didn't have FB or texting in those days.

Now I need to re-group myself (as I am the only strong one left in the family.) I had to come home and think about what I'm suppose to do with all these cherished things. I suppose I could pack and save some of these things for my grand-children, but it probably wouldn't mean much to them. They're teens and if it doesn't chirp or beep, probably wouldn't mean anything

I must sell the house, get some closure and find appropriate places for the life's treasures. It's just so hard to see so much of my life having to be closed now. It's like shutting the door on my childhood and all my happy memories in that house with my folks and siblings.

Just suffering a little of letting go.............

Monique
April 1st, 2014, 09:10 PM
All I can say is, it is hard to part with all the things they have accumulated. When my mom passed, I just kept saying Mom, I just don't have room anymore. I talked to her a lot during those times. Find good homes for the treasures you have to let go of, let someone else treasure them. Good luck.

BobW
April 1st, 2014, 09:29 PM
Maybe the local historical society would want some of the items.

Sandy Navas
April 1st, 2014, 09:40 PM
Anyone you know into altered books and/or scrapbooking? The letters, when handwritten, make wonderful backdrops for photos and stories . . .

Having been there and done that, I emphasize completely with what you are facing. I started doing some scrapbooking before I got hooked on quilting and have eased off because it is very obvious that our daughter doesn't give a patootie about ancestors and I don't think she ever will - and there's no one else unless she gets excited and passes that excitement to the granddaughters.

WendyI
April 1st, 2014, 09:47 PM
do they have who might be interested? Or great grand kids? I know as a 15 or 16 year old girl I would have been over the moon to see such letters. I'd DIE to see them now! I LOVE history! Wouldn't it be cool if someone took their letters and made them into a novel? Oooo! That would be so amazing! I'm so sorry you are going through this...there must be some amazing memories there but I can imagine how sad it must be if you were close to them. ((((HUGS)))))

BellasQuilts
April 1st, 2014, 10:12 PM
Scan them and make a book. You can make a book online. What a wonderful treasure!!!!

bubba
April 1st, 2014, 10:55 PM
I have the letters we wrote back and forth. You know what would be neat??? Make fuzzy photo copies and transfer them to fabric and make a quilt! I think that would look great!

Simply Quilting
April 1st, 2014, 11:00 PM
I think a local historical group would be interested in the letters. Even just having them in a ribbon is a display can be a great asset to the display.

auntiemern
April 2nd, 2014, 12:03 AM
I know it is hard to hold on to everything, but it is to hard to let it go. Maybe some day your kids will appreciate them.

kensington
April 2nd, 2014, 12:26 AM
Anyone you know into altered books and/or scrapbooking? The letters, when handwritten, make wonderful backdrops for photos and stories . . .

Having been there and done that, I emphasize completely with what you are facing. I started doing some scrapbooking before I got hooked on quilting and have eased off because it is very obvious that our daughter doesn't give a patootie about ancestors and I don't think she ever will - and there's no one else unless she gets excited and passes that excitement to the granddaughters.

Exactly, I have the letters my mom and pop wrote and my uncle wrote to my granny during WWII, and I used them in altered books. I color copied some and used them as background to be pages of pictures taken during that time. I also used my granny's KCStar patterns to make a page to highlight her quilts.

I am a Navy wife, my husband and I wrote each other every day of every ship deployment, sometimes twice in the early years of our marriage. I have them all. I keep them in hat boxes. Most are pretty much daily life, nothing hot or heavy... but a few of them make me blush. LOL.

But, I know that just knowing I have my moms letters tucked away has always meant something to me. I would not part with them for anything.

andralynaa
April 2nd, 2014, 12:35 AM
When my husband and I got married we got a gift from someone on his side of the family and it was a book of love letters between his great grandparents during WWI. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had some complications and had to be monitored several times a week during my last couple of months. My husband would come with me and read that book of letters to me while I was hooked up to the monitors. It was a very nice love story during a time when life was really hard and I really enjoyed listening to their story. Your grandchildren might not appreciate it when they're teenagers, but it might be something very special to them later in their lives. So I would agree with the idea to put them in some kind of book to save for future generations. I wish I had something like that on my side of the family.

Cathy F
April 2nd, 2014, 12:36 AM
My sister had her grandmothers letters and similar things as you. In her family room she has a coffee table that has a glass top on it cut to size. She has taken some of the letters doilies, postcards ect and arranged them under the glass. It really is a lovely tribute for all the family to see and read.

pcbatiks
April 2nd, 2014, 12:38 AM
I like Sandy & Megan's idea. You could put together a nice photo book..........using some of the letters showing in the background and add some of your parents old photos to the pages. The books would be so pretty & you could order copies for those in your family that would appreciate them.

Here are a few links.

Photo Books, Photo Albums, Create a Photo Book, Personalized Photo Album | Shutterfly (http://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books)

*Photo Books | Make a Photo Book | Personalized Photo Books | Snapfish (http://www5.snapfish.com/photo-gift/photo-books?cobrandName=snapfish)

Miss Sheri
April 2nd, 2014, 01:47 AM
Oh my, SAVE the letters and photos, and try to identify who is in all the photos if you can. It will be a priceless heirloom for someone, perhaps in the future. That is just something that I would treasure. I'm convinced that as your children grow up and start their own lives, at some point, that precious tie to the past will be significant. Any handmade heirloom pieces too, I would treasure, the crystal and such, is just so much 'stuff' but the personal things are priceless.

Judy, USMC
April 2nd, 2014, 02:02 AM
Every Labor day we have a family reunion of those on my father's side - not just immediate family - but my grandfather's descendants along with those of his 2 brothers and 1 sister. After both my parents were gone I took the albums for identification of those who were in it. There was a wedding photo taken when I was about a year old along with a table full of other people.

My dad's cousin (in her 80's at the time) was almost in tears. In that photo was her mother and 2 brothers who had passed away. And that was the only known photo of the 3 of them together. So distant a relative for me - and so special for her - I let her take as many photos out of the album of her family that she wanted. I've since gotten thank you notes from several of the younger generation who she passed copies to. That just shows me somewhere - someday - someone would appreciate the old things.

And I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate those old linens & doilies into a bedspread or quilt!

dwil23
April 2nd, 2014, 03:10 AM
Sharyn, I feel for you. It is so hard to do what you are doing. I am also a scrapbooker and that would be my first thought. I would put them into book form. Even if there is no one in the family that would appreciate them now, they may some day. Alternately, you could put them and other small mementos into an acid free storage box. There are many available that are very pretty. (((HUGS)))

Sandy, I know how you feel - but don't give up on preserving your family's history. Your daughter may not be interested now, but I wasn't either when I was younger. Something I regret. My kids don't have a lot of interest now, but hopefully when they are older they will and who's to say i will be around then? And, with all those granddaughter's one of them is bound to have some interest in the future.

rebeccas-sewing
April 2nd, 2014, 03:45 AM
I love Megan's idea! I can't see getting rid of the letters and most definitely the photos should be kept. Too, too precious and definitely a part of history. As far as all of the others items go I'd keep a few of the ones I valued the most and the rest I'd give to charity. It's really hard to do that, I know. As others mentioned, consider that your children may want them some day but not right now. If you just don't have the space to box them and store them you may have to give away them away. Do you have any cousins that might like something that belonged to their aunt and uncle? If they are interested but don't live close by you could photo what's there and send photos so they could see if they'd like anything. Then you could just send them whatever they want. Do you have any fundraisers coming up where items will be sold to raise money? That might be a way to donate.

We were really off the hook when we buried my aunt. My sister and I went through the house and took what we wanted. We left the rest for our cousins. My one cousin inherited the house so she took on the job of getting rid of what no one wanted. Sis and I were so relieved we didn't have to do that. We'd worried about it for years since we were executors. It's like adding insult to injury. First you grieve the loss of your loved ones. Then you have to grieve all over again when it comes to saying goodbye to possessions that had meaning to them.
Scan them and make a book. You can make a book online. What a wonderful treasure!!!!

mamaquilt
April 2nd, 2014, 05:03 AM
And I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate those old linens & doilies into a bedspread or quilt![/QUOTE]

I did tableclothes for our children with the embroideries and blankets my Mom made. They are treasured by our children now. I'd given them the plain blankets I'd think they wouldn't have appreciated them that much. I crocheted a border around them and there you go.

72466

EmmaB
April 2nd, 2014, 06:14 AM
(((HUGS)))) Sharyn.

I agree with everyone .... pack away the most cherished memories most carefully. They will be appreciated by someone in the future.

songbird857
April 2nd, 2014, 08:46 AM
I suppose I could pack and save some of these things for my grand-children, but it probably wouldn't mean much to them. They're teens and if it doesn't chirp or beep, probably wouldn't mean anything............

They won't always feel this way - there will probably come a day when they would be grateful that you kept the letters :)
Also, maybe scan them onto fabric (sepia toned?) and make a beautiful lap quilt/wallhanging?? Combining those with some fabric reminiscent of the 40's - a while back I found a small piece of this - Vintage Couples Fabric by Norman Rockwell for Timeless Treasures Fabric | eBay (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310889755208&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:top:en) at a LQS and fell in love. Kinda hard to find, but it's so awesome with the Gershwin music and the couples on it....

EnumclawGramma
April 2nd, 2014, 09:28 AM
I have all the letters my parents wrote to each other when my Dad would travel, back when they were just dating! My Mom had them all in bundles in her stuff. I didn't even take the bundles apart, or read a letter. I just put them in the box of things I know my children will one day enjoy. They're all relatively young now, and these things have little meaning. Time changes that, as I learned. If you can't decide what to do with these letters, squirrel them away in a place you'll remember. When you come upon them again....you will know what to do. Some things just take longer than others to sort out.

Meli
April 2nd, 2014, 12:38 PM
Sharyn, I have the letters my grandfather sent home during WWII, as well as nearly 100 photos he took, all annotated, in North Africa and Paris. I am in the process of organizing them all and putting them in archival quality albums. It is my treasure for now, but will eventually go to my niece. I hope it will be a treasure for her as well. What she chooses to do with it in the future is her decision, but I hope she'll choose to keep it and pass it down. The pictures and the letters together form a unique window into the past.

slamb13
April 2nd, 2014, 12:46 PM
I would put them in a scrapbook and save them. Teenagers might not be interested in them now, but I bet they will be in the future.

Check out Project Life for very easy scrapbooking. It's just slipping your items into pocket pages... very very easy and you can add as much or as little additional info as you want.

https://beckyhiggins.com/about-project-life/

You can get a 12x12 album and various sized pockets to hold letters, photos whatever. If you want to add more info, you can get index cards to write on and add them as well, but you don't have to do that if you don't want to. Project Life is sold online as well as at AC Moore & Michaels.

I hope that helps, let me know if you need any more info. (I am a scrapbooker too!)

Susan

asta
April 2nd, 2014, 12:52 PM
Exactly, I have the letters my mom and pop wrote and my uncle wrote to my granny during WWII, and I used them in altered books. I color copied some and used them as background to be pages of pictures taken during that time. I also used my granny's KCStar patterns to make a page to highlight her quilts.

I am a Navy wife, my husband and I wrote each other every day of every ship deployment, sometimes twice in the early years of our marriage. I have them all. I keep them in hat boxes. Most are pretty much daily life, nothing hot or heavy... but a few of them make me blush. LOL.

But, I know that just knowing I have my moms letters tucked away has always meant something to me. I would not part with them for anything.


Since my vision is sooo bad today, I can not read all these comments so please forgive me if I am repeating.
Make a quilt out of them, scan onto fabric and just go from there with a pattern and fabric you feel would symbolize your parents life together. I did this with some recipes that came from my Grandmother I found some of her handwritten specialties and made potholders and dishtowels for all my aunts and cousins.

Mimis-quilts
April 2nd, 2014, 12:58 PM
I haven't taken the time to read everyone else's reply's....but here is my thought. I absolutely love doing family history and I have a few handwritten letters from my ancestors that I treasure. Not so much for what was written (although that is pretty awesome to know their thoughts about things), but because that paper was touched by and written on by someone that I never knew, someone that is related to me. It's part of history. So, if I were you, I would somehow preserve them for more generations to enjoy. You mentioned your teenagers wouldn't be interested...but give them 20 years down the road they may very well be so excited to be able to read them and enjoy them for what they are.

Also, I know how hard it is to go through your parents' things and try to decide what to keep and what not to keep. Hang in there and let other family members help you. Peace and blessings to you.


I'm still in the process of clearing out dad's house. Today, I asked my brother to get the rest of the boxes from the attic so I can sort through things. This whole process has been quite emotional for both of us. The house we grew up, my mom & dad's things, including their personal love letters during the war. Grandmother's hand crocheted table cloths, doilies, and handkerchiefs, great grandma's quilts and stuff, and more than 70 years of photographs. Old crystal vases, many things from my great-great grandmothers.

Ok, I sat down and cried after I saw the bundles of love letter between my mom and dad during the war. I didn't read the letters as I didn't need to do that. I've always known my entire life how much they loved each other. It was just so poignant that mom kept every single letter! Who does that? My mom, I guess. They didn't have FB or texting in those days.

Now I need to re-group myself (as I am the only strong one left in the family.) I had to come home and think about what I'm suppose to do with all these cherished things. I suppose I could pack and save some of these things for my grand-children, but it probably wouldn't mean much to them. They're teens and if it doesn't chirp or beep, probably wouldn't mean anything

I must sell the house, get some closure and find appropriate places for the life's treasures. It's just so hard to see so much of my life having to be closed now. It's like shutting the door on my childhood and all my happy memories in that house with my folks and siblings.

Just suffering a little of letting go.............

Sharyn J
April 2nd, 2014, 01:56 PM
Thank you all so much for your wonderful insights and ideas. It is comforting to know that there are so many nice ways of preserving this history and you've provided so many great ideas. Right now, I'm ankle deep in sorting but I'm trying to be organized and pack with a plan in mind. I cannot part with the letters. I will preserve them in some way and perhaps my grandchildren will enjoy them when they grow up.

Thanks again for your support and sharing your thoughts. :icon_bigsmile:

Peggi
April 2nd, 2014, 02:10 PM
Do not throw them away. The grands might be into electronics NOW, but someday as adults they may enjoy the love letters.

A couple of years ago my grandmother showed me a bunch of love letters between my great-grandfather and his first wife. I met my great-grandfather only once as a child, so he wasn't well known to me, but I heard many stories over the years. His first wife died when their sons were only 3 and 5. She had been in a car accident, back in Model T days, and hit her head on the dash. She had a headache, but other than that they thought she was fine. Well, about a week later, she took their small sons to go swimming in the lake, and suffered some sort of brain hemorrhage and drowned. My grandfather, the 5 year old, tried to save her, but of course was too small to get her out of the water. The boys spent most of their childhood in an orphanage until their dad remarried when my grandfather was about 15.

The love letters are so poignant and sweet. Man and wife, my great-grandmother and great-grandfather as young adults, both talk about the dreams of moving west, owning land, watching their boys grow up, and how much they love each other. I am SO grateful that the letters were saved. Just knowing and having that bit of family history is so enriching.

alliek
April 2nd, 2014, 07:58 PM
Don't throw away the letters!!!! Your teens will be adults one day, I bet they and/or their spouses would love this bit of personal family history,. You might think of publishing them if there are enough.

IBake
April 2nd, 2014, 08:04 PM
Sharyn, I understand your pain. I lost my Dad seven years ago Sept., then 5 weeks later I lost my mother to Alzheimers...but really it was a broken heart as mom and daddy had been married 64.5 years when he passed. I had moved then twice in two years, getting rid of stuff and saving the precious parts...then I brought home what we kept to VA from MN. It was a long 1200 mi. drive. I still haven't gotten through all the leftovers.....the pain is in hiding until I open the boxes and see the good china and silver. My kids today don't understand good silver dishes and coffee and tea service. The memories are deep in these things that pull to me. Perhaps in another three years it will get better but I don't know

I can only empathise with you and hold your hand thru space.

Hulamoon
April 2nd, 2014, 08:07 PM
I have a story about letters. When I was a young teen my cousin was a helicopter captain in Viet Nam. He was like a big brother to me since I'm only child. He wrote me many, many letters. Some were so funny, like there is no water that they took baths in beer. He got two purple hearts and came home. I didn't really get to see him because he moved to Hawaii.

I got rid of the letters. Years later someone called out for letters for a book "Letters from Viet Nam" .I never felt so sick in my life that I got rid of them.

I moved here because of him. I still had him alive, but now that he's gone I could just kick myself for not keeping them.

SuzyQue
April 2nd, 2014, 08:09 PM
Do not get rid of anything that tugs at your heart strings! You are too emotional now and might really regret getting rid of something later. Pack it up as best as you can and each time you open that box, look it over again. Your heart will direct you what needs to be kept, what is most important to you. Find others in the family or old family friends that would like some remembrances, too. You can always pitch later, but you can't get it back once it is gone.

WendyI
April 2nd, 2014, 09:08 PM
another thing to keep in mind is how truly extinct those letters are! People just do not write letters anymore. It's sad to think that future generations will never experience a find like that. They may be worth a lot more than you think. I am glad you decided to keep them. Sending (((HUGS)))) in your time of sadness too. Xoxox

JCY
April 2nd, 2014, 11:46 PM
Someone in your family who is interested in genealogy would probably love to have these letters. Whatever you do, don't throw them away! JCY

Mchelem
April 3rd, 2014, 03:00 AM
I have letters from my parents to each other, from my grandparents to me when I was younger (and my grandma kept all my letters to her as well) and I have even the letters my ex husband and I wrote to each other while he was in the Navy. I was pregnant with my oldest daughter at that time, so I have given those to her to do with as she pleases.

Quiltfreestyle
April 3rd, 2014, 11:08 AM
All I can say is DON'T get rid of the letters or photos, at least not for a long time. When my grandmother's Alzheimer's got too bad & she had to be moved to a care facility, my Mom was so distraught. She trashed most of the old family pictures and hundreds of reels of movies that my grandmother took starting in the late 50's right through to the 80's. All those memories of mine, my sister & brother growing up, getting married, having kids,,, it made us all so sad that it was gone for good.
Just saying,,, your kids may not treasure these things now but I'm sure they will when they grow up..

Sharyn J
April 26th, 2014, 06:13 PM
UPDATE ON LOVE LETTERS

Well, would you believe that my brother found 2 more trunks and a large box full of letters, pictures, newspapers dated 1941, war rations books, etc. I even found mom's diary journals when she was a teenager! Of course there's a ton of old pictures and mementos. Mom had a trunk with everything since highschool. Dad also had a trunk with his love letters, Navy stuff, even some US Navy decorative pillows.

Just when I thought I had sorted everything pretty well from the trunk found weeks ago, I now have more............and I mean, a LOT more!

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful thoughts & ideas of what to do with these cherished things. It may take me another lifetime to sort through all of it, but for the time being I'll just have to tote these things home and slowly but surely get through it.

Sometimes, with all of our new techy ways of communication, it's hard to imagine no e-mail, no texting, no private phone lines in those days. I guess the only way that Mom & Dad kept the love alive during the war was through their hand written letters.

I'm learning new things every time I venture into the trunks. My mom passed away 18 years ago. She loved to write notes and poems in her journals. I always thought that it was a way for her to enjoy something because she was bedridden for so long. Now I found that my mom always kept journals from the time she was a kid and obviously enjoyed them her entire life. Why didn't I know that before?

Hulamoon
April 26th, 2014, 06:45 PM
I think it sounds like a movie in the making. I would love to see it! Really:)

Sandy Navas
April 26th, 2014, 06:59 PM
Sharyn, you are really pulling at my heartstrings with this story. Do keep us up-to-date. I have vivid memories of reading through some of my maternal grandmother's journals when I was a teenager. She passed away before I was born and those and pictures are the only memories I have of her. Sadly our home burned when I was about 20 and the journals and all the quilts that my Mother had were lost. Sadly the other members of the family didn't want anything from their parents - and all I have left are memories and a few quilt blocks that I pray were hand-stitched by my grandmother. Cherish every word!!

bubba
April 27th, 2014, 12:18 AM
My aunt, who is now 90 I think, keeps a journal. She starts a fresh one every January 1 and writes in it every night. Has for years. I don't know if her kids know or not, but I think they'd be interesting to go thru!

easyquilts
April 27th, 2014, 04:12 AM
It 's hard.... My mother died 14 years ago next month..... All she had left us still n boxes in my garage... Untouched. In fact, my husband's shirts are still hanging in the utility room, where he left them.... A pair of his jeans are slung over the shower stall, where they dried.... I washed them, and hung them up there like I always did...

I wish I knew the answer to your question.... I know I would definitely keep the letters... Stored in an airtight container. Mom kept Daddy's, but I have in idea where they are... Just having those precious letters will be a comfort to you.... If you don't have room for everything else, you might share some things with family members, keeping the things that mean the most to you.

I can tell how emotionally exhausting this whole process has been for you.... Letting go, and saying goodbye are the hardest things in the world to do..... (((((((Hugs))))))) . DOn't make any rash decisions.....