Tag Archives: Silverware

Heirlooms, Passed Through the Generations, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared pictures of Minnie Mae’s quilts that somehow survived who knows how many years of life in the gardening shed in Oklahoma.

Today, I want to share heirlooms belonging to Nellie Tarbox Adams (aka “Nammie”) that I have received. I’ve already told the story of Nammie’s Rocking Chair and How I Almost Lost It, but here are a couple of vintage photos of the rocker:

Nammie’s Rocker in Great Grandmother Annie’s
Apartment in the 1930’s. Rocker in right corner.

Linda in Rocking Chair
Me in Nammie’s Rocker, c1957

Linda & Michael in Rocking Chair
Michael, Nammie’s 3x great grandson,
in the rocker with Mom in 1988

I was heartbroken when I thought Nammie’s rocker had burned in the moving van fire, but overjoyed and thankful when I learned it was one of the only objects to survive that fire. Michael is now the 6th generation of our family to sit in that rocking chair. It’s absolutely priceless to our family.

In addition to the rocking chair, I am also the family caretaker for Nammie’s silverware. She didn’t have a lot, just a few serving spoons and six teaspoons, but I proudly use them during the holidays.

Silver Serving Spoon

It is very hard to see, but the spoons are engraved with a curly-script letter “A” for Adams, at the top of each spoon.

Would I get rich selling these spoons? Never. Would I even want to sell them? Never!

Heirlooms, Passed Through Generations, Part 1


When most people hear that word, they immediately think of museum pieces worth thousands. The truth of the matter is that few of us have inherited heirlooms of that calibre, but we do inherit objects of immeasurable sentimental value.

Not long ago, I read a conversation on line about various items that people had inherited from generations gone by. One person commented that we live in times that encourage us more to throw things away than to treasure, re-use and pass on. She lamented the fact that she had no family treasures to pass on to her own family.

I feel very blessed when it comes to family heirlooms. Not one of them would bring in much money, but I am thankful that my ancestors cared for and passed them down and that I am the current caretaker before they move on once again.

My next few posts will share some of the family mementos that I treasure. Thinking about this topic has made me start to wonder what I will pass on from my own lifetime.

After Dave’s grandmother passed away in 1989, his dad went back to Oklahoma to help his sister clean out the house. Pearl not only had a PILE of old photos, she had some other things that surprised Ed. She had a gardening shed in her backyard and he went out to empty it out, expecting to find gardening tools.

There were indeed some tools, but he also found three “blankets” rolled up and stored out there. These “blankets” were actually three quilts hand sewn by Minnie Mae Williams, mother of Pearl. Being in the gardening shed, one would expect that these old cotton quilts would have been stained, rubbed through with holes and perhaps insect infested. Amazingly, the only stains were there due to nature – the batting consisted of natural cotton and some of the seeds left inside the quilt had decomposed through the years, not a single rip to be found in any of the quilts, and no bugs had made them their homes.

Other family members showed little interest in these quilts, except for you-know-who. I had them appraised years ago, although quilt values have dropped since then. However, I did learn that Minnie Mae was an excellent quilter. They are all hand sewn and the fabrics date from the 1920’s and 1930’s. Minnie Mae passed away in 1945, but none of the family really knew anything about how long she had been quilting.

Take a look. the first quilt is made of plain cotton muslin and colored fabric scraps. They were likely sewed during the Depression years so usable pieces of fabric would not have been thrown away.


Minnie Mae’s Scrap Quilt

This quilt measures 68 x 76 inches. Even standing on the bed with the quilt on the floor, I couldn’t get the hole thing in the picture. The colors in it remain strong and the quilt is in excellent condition.

Seeing the back of this quilt, one can appreciate how many hand stitches went into making this. Minnie Mae’s stitches are small and evenly spaced, the mark of a good quilter.

The second quilt features mostly blue fabric again paired with plain cotton muslin. It measures 66 x 73 inches and, again, is hand sewn.

Minnie’s blue quilt

I love all three quilts, but this one is terrific:

Minnie’s Yo-Yo Quilt

This is a yo-yo quilt and each of those individual circles, called yo-yos, is tacked on four sides to the other yo-yos. I couldn’t come close to capturing this one in a photo as it measures 81 x 99 inches. It is made up of 36 blocks, each with 36 yo-yos within, and a pink yo-yo border. I wonder if Minnie Mae was working on this quilt when she died because two adjoining sides have a 2-row border, but there is no border on the other two sides. I would have expected at least a third side with a border if the top of the quilt was to be placed under pillows.

Tomorrow, more family heirlooms.