Antique Persian rugs are iconic. The art of making, buying, selling, trading, and passing them from family to family has endured for centuries. Rugs are heirlooms…as significant to some as paintings, sculptures, and first-edition books are to others. The beautiful Persian “white” Kashan and Romanian Tabriz carpets were my pride and joy for over twenty years. Made of one hundred percent wool and hand-knotted, both cost a small fortune when purchased all those years ago. I was thrilled with the acquisitions and rationalized that each was a unique investment my children would appreciate and inherit one day.
And then…I decided to move. To a new home. A very modern one. A simple, clean “minimalistic” one with gray concrete floors and white walls. My fine, traditional collectibles hung in the balance as it slowly dawned on me that NOTHING we owned would fit into the new style – new décor – to which we hoped to become accustomed.
With anticipation, I asked the kids what they wanted from the house. They were free to choose from anything…rugs; Lladro porcelain figurines; Waterford crystal; Royal Dalton and Limoge china; Nana’s mismatched china teacups; Grand Baroque sterling silver; a sixty-plus-year-old Thomasville French provincial canopy bedroom suite; and much more. The verdict? They wanted nothing. Seriously. And not because they live in apartments. And not because they don’t have their own kids yet. The stuff wasn’t their taste and simply meant nothing to them. Nothing. It all was just my “old sh*t.”
I felt a bit hurt, but couldn’t be upset with them. After all, hadn’t I been the same way when my husband’s mother and grandmother tried to give me things? The “very expensive crystal bowl from Aunt Leona” or “fine piece of art” felt like junk to me too. And it wasn’t just the in-laws. My own grandmother, at ninety-seven, is in a rush to find homes for her furniture and chotchkies. She has a huge three-piece breakfront, with a mirrored back and glass shelves, that’s made of burl wood. She goes on and on about how expensive it was, how much she loves it, and how much she wants one of the grandchildren to take it. Bottom line? It’s ugly. It’s out of style. None of us wants it. I told my mother to call Goodwill.
It was coincidental that my husband shared an article this week about this very topic. I agree with the author that priorities have changed in today’s disposable society. The perception of value and worth has changed. When I moved out of the old house, I had an “Estate Sale.” The professionals came and tagged everything – and I mean everything – I didn’t want to bring to the new house. When the final check came in the mail, I cringed. The original cost of everything was at least ten times what we made. My possessions had practically been given away.
Now I know. I no longer will buy things with the expectation that they’ll be passed on to the next generation. As a matter of fact, I’ve decided to focus on spending money on experiences over things. Experiences become lifelong memories. Things become junk that’s tough to get rid of.
So no heirlooms for my heirs.