A Trip Down Memory Lane

Posted by on April 12, 2018 in Community & Family History, Featured Flag | 8 comments

The Challenge

Prior to our four years of travel we downsized and parted with many of the larger items in our house. There was enough trauma associated with that exercise that most of the smaller treasures associated with our lives to that point were packed and put in storage. In 2014 we emptied our eastern storage locker and again parted with many items. The problem is we still have too much stuff! The other day I made the mistake of choosing another box from our ‘western’ locker to sort!

Those of you fighting the ‘downsizing exercise’ will know what I face. During our lives we have moved from a fourteen room farmhouse, to a two-story finished basement house, to a 1600 sq. foot bungalow with finished walk out basement, to a 42 foot motorhome to a 1200 sq. foot condo with a 5’x10′ locker! Until this last move, lots of space! Some boxes that I have sorted had not seen the light of day since the move from the farmhouse but the last box was one that was full of memories.

My Quandry!

We were married in 1967, our centennial project! As a daughter in a large extended family, the members all actively involved in many aspects of the community. the wedding guest list was a challenge. My parents hosted a large traditional wedding and several aunts hosted showers. There were a lot of gifts! In fact I just opened a package that contained a cotton bedsheet that, after washing, has been used for the backing of a quilt almost fifty-one years later! But that’s not my current problem. I was married during the era when ‘silver’ was a treasured gift!

Wedding Gifts

I loved to entertain and throughout my life have often hosted large gatherings of family and friends. The wedding gifts of china and ‘silverware’ were frequently used and enjoyed. Through the years there were occasional purchases also, as I have a love of ‘old’ dishes, pressed glass and, yes, the occasional item of silver. As a result, at this point in my life, there are a lot of decisions to make.

Here are some of the items causing me angst:

Wedding gift 1967

Small Cream and Sugar with Oval Tray – Wedding Gift

Wedding Gift

Medium sized Cream and Sugar with Rectangular tray – Wedding Gift

Silver/Glass Pickle Tray

Small Pickle Tray, Glass Insert with Silver Carrier Tray

I spent many hours with silver polish yesterday as I reminisced about occasions when I used some some of these gifts.

Don’s Award Silver

A few items in the collection are memory items. These were from 1968 when Don was a member of the Lanark County Judging team at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair judging team in Toronto. The bread tray has always been a favorite. The small dish at the bottom is actually the top from a trophy that was dismantled and now serves as a candy dish.

Silver Bread Tray – Miniature Judging Competition Award for Jeffery Bull Memorial Challenge Trophy, 1968 RAWF

Part of Trophy 1968

Ontario Veterinary Association Trophy, Judging Competition, Miniature – RAWF 1968

Tayside Farms Awards for Holstein Shows

As a child, one Saturday a month, I was tasked with polishing the following – just some of the many awards that the Tayside Farms holstein herd attracted. When my parents left their home, the extensive collection of awards were divided among family members. Lots of memories!

Silver Bowl

T. Eaton Co. Silver Bowl, Holstein Show Award

Large glass silver filigree trimmed sandwich tray – T. Eaton Award Holstein Show.

Large Pickle Tray with Glass Insert

Large Pickle Tray with Glass Insert – T. Eaton Award, Holstein Show

From Alice, My Paternal Grandmother

From my Grandmother’s Collection – Silver Casserole/Vegetable Server with Bone Handles

I have never used this dish but it is special to me. It was used when Grandma served Sunday night supper to friends and relatives who have ‘dropped by’ for a visit. Grandma didn’t have a lot of  ‘fancy’ dishes. She won this one for achieving high points in the needlework division at the annual Perth Fair one year.

Gifts and other Acquisitions

Silver Filigree Trimmed Glass Bowl

Silver Filigree Trimmed Glass Bowl, a souvenir of a wedding anniversary trip

5 piece silver tea service with ebony handles

5 piece silver tea service with ebony handles that a friend found at an estate sale and though I just had to have it! I used it many times and it makes the best tea!

Large Silver Tray

Large Silver Tray – One of the trays in the collection, used with the tea service

The above items are just a few of the ‘silver’ items that I have faithfully polished over the years. Some  items I have already given away. These have survived the various ‘cuts’ but take up a lot of space and haven’t been called into use since leaving our home in Ontario. What to do? The younger generation doesn’t have time to polish silver. We now live in a condo and don’t have the space to entertain large groups. I’ve been to a number of estate sales and talked to dealers and they have trouble ‘giving it away’. It’s silver plate, not sterling so most items have little monetary value.

The Question

If family members are not interested in treasures from ‘your life’, what are you planning for the dispersal of favorite items?



  1. No one wants that “stuff”. I gave mine to an auctioneer andlooked only at the total at the bottom of his account so my heart wouldn’t break. But…ITS GONE

  2. It is difficult Diane, I am currently downsizing and purging from our farmhouse where we have
    Ives for 45 years. I am going to move out to Vancouver Island and my criteria is – if I dont want to pay tomove it to BC then out it goes. I have fine china and also some silver from my parents among many other items. The prices at auctions arec very poor these days and my kids do not want them. I think the best thing is to take some nice pictures, document them with a wee story and put them into a scrapbook that way you still have the memories , if not the items. Decide on and keep a precious few items to represent the ones that are gone.

  3. I sit here crying as I read this. I wish I were closer as I would make room for gramma’s dish and a Tayside Easton’s award.

    • Hi Janet,
      I still haven’t made my decisions! Grandma’s dish is really special to me so it may be one of the last for me do something with. I’ll think of you when I do get to a decision point. We still have a few boxes to unpack and as I do that I am making priority decisions. I’ve been thinking about your girls also….

      • Thanks. I was yong when gramma passed and so wasn’t in line for many items. Mom had a few small items. I believe many Tayside and other items were left at the farm as the apartment was small.

  4. I’m no help.

  5. Such treasures Diane! Capturing these in story and photo as you have done here might be a first step to who knows what with your creativity. I share your quandry. Our basement has become a repository for many family treasures, and being nostagic and loving the story of each thing makes downsizing a daunting task!

    • So true Robyn. I wish I had taken time to do more documentation earlier!

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