Holy mole! How did that happen? I missed week 24 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. Granted, only a day has passed me by, but still, I feel like such a slacker! Oh well, before I lose another day, this week’s, I mean, last week’s writing prompt is/was Handed Down.
The first thought I had when I read this theme was the family heirlooms and keepsakes that we have received from our much-beloved and often-remembered predecessors. Our house is filled with hand-me-downs, passed down for generations. Family photos, knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, and farming implements are scattered about my home. (Something like Cracker Barrel decor “lite” but where every face has a name and where the personal history of each item is celebrated.)
Most of the family heirlooms come from my spouse’s maternal family. The dining room set, Amish rocking chair, mantel clock, and “good” china belonged to his grandparents’ home. The ceramic lighted Christmas tree and various sculptures were crafted by his great-great-aunt. The handmade quilts, music stand, and oak occasional table are from his great-grandmother, while the farming tools come from his great-grandfather. However, for me, the pièce de résistance of the family heirlooms is a wardrobe painstakingly created by his 2nd great-grandfather, John Michael Harwick, the son of German immigrants Johan Georg Herwig and Anna Margretha Kippert.
The piece, standing nearly seven feet tall, boasts dovetail joints and decorative features. Made of tiger oak, so named because of the distinctive whirls and swirls in the wood grain, this century-old wardrobe is well-crafted and beautifully rendered; love and care are imbued into this work of art. This wardrobe has withstood the test of time, and the wear and tear of the years and the deepening patina only make this treasure more precious. For these reasons, can you see why Great-Great-Grandpa Harwick’s creation is, by far, my favorite family hand-me-down?