When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.
is for the Corner Cupboard that once belonged to my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis. Corner furniture was popular in the 19th century, probably because it saved space in the room. The purpose of cupboards was storage. In the kitchen they held dishes and cookware. In a hallway they might have held bed linens.
When or how Mary Frances acquired this pine cabinet is not known. However, it is certainly old enough to have been one of her original pieces of furniture when she and Walter Davis married in 1890. Most likely she used it in the dining room of their home in Shenandoah. When she went to live with her daughter Violetta, the cabinet went with her.
Violetta’s living room is where I remember seeing the cabinet and feeling sorry that she could do no better than all that old furniture. Oh my, how my views have changed over the years.
When Violetta died, my mother and my cousin Bobbie were tasked with disposing of Violetta’s things. Each was free to claim what she wanted either for herself or on behalf of other family members. If there was something they both wanted, they drew names. Of course, Momma and Bobbie both wanted the cabinet, but Momma was the lucky draw that day.
When our parents died and my sister and I went through the same process, I said I would fight her for the corner cabinet. Fortunately, we didn’t have to fight. We made sure that for every item one of us claimed, the other took something of comparable size and value. Momma’s Empire-style sideboard was my sister’s choice. There is nothing “second place” about it!
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.