Heirlooms and FOO issues

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i'll rise
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Heirlooms and FOO issues

Post by i'll rise » Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:20 pm

Was wondering if anyone can relate....

The only FOO member I've kept in contact with has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has been given only a very short time to live. When she told me, my DH and I travelled down to her home town to visit her one last time with our kids.

I've mentioned her before here re: her spoiled middle-aged son who likes to pretend me and my kids don't exist.

When I went to visit her, I wasn't expecting anything in terms of family heirlooms, etc. except for hoping in the back of my mind that she would share some of the old family photos. She has all of the old photos going back to the early 1900s.

None were ever shared with my father (her brother) or me. She has been quite covetous with them. But I was hoping she might see the light (and logic) that her son has no children to hand those down to, but I do. It's unfortunate as not only the photos but all of the heirlooms (stuff that has lots of historical/sentimental value but largely no financial value) will all end up in a landfill eventually....including my grandfather's ashes.

It's unfortunate that some people continue to covet right to the bitter end and are so focused on "winning" when it will all end up in the garbage eventually. The beautiful photos of my grandmother, etc. could have been cherished and cared for into the future by subsequent generations through my kids. But my Aunt had to "win" and ensure that my cousin is given everything....for it to eventually end up in a pawn shop, auction or landfill. Really sad and incredibly short-sighted.

Yes, I realize that I likely should never have continued contact with her given the issues with her son and the way I've been treated overall (from the past to the present) but she was good to my kids and was the only "extended family" they had.

Just needed to vent about this. It may just be family photos, but again it crystallized for me the unfairness that's been a common thread in my FOO. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't be surprised. Just too bad some people continue to be like this right up until death.

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Re: Heirlooms and FOO issues

Post by Melody » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:46 am

I can relate. Is there anyway you could ask aunt or someone local to aunt (and offer to pay) to have the photos converted to say DVD - to be distributed to you, said cousin and whomever? I know there are places that do this and you're not asking to take possession of the originals.

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Re: Heirlooms and FOO issues

Post by rubycrownedkinglet » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:45 am

I can relate to that, and from the other side of the coin. I'm the last of six children and my older sister and I are about 19 years apart. Long after she was married and having children, I was still living at home with my parents and going on the family vacations to visit the grandparents. One year I, who was the only grandchild who ever asked, begged my GM to tell me about her parents and GPs. My GM was not the sentimental sort at all and worked so hard through the depression and raising children on a farm that I'm not surprised that she had never been forthcoming with my sibs.

She told me all about what she knew and seemed to enjoy sharing it at that stage in her life, around 80. Maybe it gave her a different perspective. She found the old box of photos that she showed me, wistfully telling me about her DM whom had died tragically when she was only 50. She told me about the previous generation coming from Germany and when her GFs first wife died he married her sister, etc. There were lots of stories and she gave me some of the pictures. The thing that surprised me most was that she had saved my DFs christening cap from 1918 and she gave it to me also.

When I went away to college, the things GM gave me stayed at my parents house, of course. When my DH and I bought a house two years after college, DM couldn't wait to get all my crap out of her house and literally helped us load the truck with everything I had ever owned to free up a closet in her home. My pictures and the cap were in that load and moved 500 miles away with me.

Almost 25 years later, I was on the phone with ODSis talkng about some discoveries I had made on ancestry.com and she told me about the christening cap and that it was lost. She said she had seen it once and it was handmade with hand-tatted lace, etc. Someone had taken it when our DPs sold their house and moved into assisted living. Maybe someone in the center stole it.

I told her not to worry, I had it and it was safe and in good condition. She told me someone who had kids should have been the one to take that to pass it down. Her DS had finally had his first child (at 46) and I got the impression she thought he should have it. Mind you, my oldest DB has the oldest next gen GS and they carry the family name. My other DB has a son who was engaged at the time and they were anxious to start a family. They have since had a boy. Our other Dsis's youngest son was very close with DF and admired him greatly, more than any of us. [I have recently been thinking that I should give the christening cap to one of my nephews, but I can't figure out which one.]

When she asked me point blank why I had it, I told her that GM gave it to me. It was mine and took it with me when I left home. Well that pissed her right off as if I was a little kid saying "MINE." I was just explaining that I hadn't stolen it, like she was accusing me of doing. I then offered to send it to her and she caught herself acting like a fool and told me not to, because her house was not a safe place to keep it. Between the frequent hurricanes and the constant humidity, she was right, so I took a scan of it on my new super-detailed scanner and sent it to her, along with copies of the pictures. One of GGM looked hauntingly like both ODSis and me. She seemed to be satisfied with that because I made the effort and I offered to share.

I'll Rise, what we did with the PILs was we asked to borrow the pictures and we made copies of the ones we wanted, at our own expense at the local Walgreens, one of the few places available back then. Now you can scan them yourself then print or not whichever you want. In return for the favor, we had several of the really good ones restored and framed them and gave them back to the PILs later as gifts, keeping duplicates for ourselves. We all enjoyed it. I was very glad that we did that because otherwise, we got nothing without a fight after the PILs died. It may be too late for you now, but maybe your cousin will be ok with that as an alternative.

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Re: Heirlooms and FOO issues

Post by WatchingMyBack » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:54 am

When MIL passed away, her entire household contents was given to :evil: BIL. This included all of the family photos. I have to laugh that :evil: BIL is now sending emails to Aunt (that he never liked) with the photos attached and asking her to identify who the people are in the photos. He never cared two cents for any family member or had any interest in FIL's or MIL's ancestors. Makes me wonder if he is going to try to track down descendents of the relatives in those photos, since neither of his sibling or any of his nieces and nephews, or cousins will have anything to do with him :lol:

We do have one album of random photos that I believe had been in a box and :evil: BIL's daughter (SpawnNiece) GLUED them into an album (closing the pages before the glue dried, so many photos were ruined when they stuck together). :evil: BIL told MIL that it was our DD that had created that album and ruined the photos. The only problem is, the photos are labeled in SN's handwriting and have names under them like Uncle M, Uncle R(DH) and Daddy ( :evil: ) UMMM, MIL, why would DD put "Daddy" under a photo of her Uncle and label her own father as "Uncle R"? ? So stupid, but MIL believed whatever :evil: said.

Anyway, that album and one of MIL and FIL on their honeymoon made it to our house just before FIL died and I kept them for DH.

We also received an envelope full of photos of DH's GM, GF, MIL, & DU from the spouse of MIL's first cousin. In the cousin's family, there had also been two spinster sisters. One of the sisters was a complete narcissistic control freak like MIL (I really believe it is a genetic traite when I see how many people in MILs family have it). Spinster Cousins always loved DH very much and were always very sweet to me and the DC. I would drive MIL to their city once a year to visit them all (of course, MIL never remembered that I did that). On one trip NARC Spinster Cousin berated MIL in front of other people because MIL only had photos of :evil: BIL children in her handbag and was showing them off as if those were the ONLY GC that she had. MIL was seething, but their family dynamic was that Spinster Cousin had seniority over MIL, so she kept her mouth shut the rest of the day.

NARC Spinster Cousin had tons of family photos she wouldn't share with anyone while she was alive. The niece she left her household contents to didn't have any interest in them, so Cousin's wife was kind enough to sort through them and mail them to people she thought would appreciate them. She and her DH had also always adored DH and disliked :evil: , and she and I would keep in touch by phone every once in a while, so she sent them all to me. I made scans of all of them and sent the ones of DU to DH's cousins (those were photos of their father as a child. Their DF passed away in 79 in a car accident.)

I really appreciated Cousin's wife for being kind enough to take the time to sort them and send them. After the awful way she was treated by Spinster Cousin (yes, Cousin's wife was the scapegoat, of course), she could have just tossed them all. She and cousin had two children, both adopted, so those family members were not their actual ancestors.

I would send a nice note to your Cousin and let him know that you would like an opportunity to get scans of the photos done. If he has no interest in the photos at all, maybe he'll give them to you outright. Many times when people are trying to dispose of a household, they're glad to be rid of stuff. Or, if he is like :evil: but had to hold on tight with both hands to anything that belonged to his DM, it will probably be a lost cause.

It never hurts to ask.
“Make no judgments where you have no compassion.”

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