Dividing up treasures

Half of the silver

My mother, sister-in-law, and I all chose the same Towle Old Master silver pattern. I never married but didn’t let that stop me getting pretty things. We grew up using the silver every night for dinner, not saving it up for only special occasions, and I wanted to be able to do that in my own home. My mom bought me some place settings from estate sales, I bought some, and my grandmother would sometimes give me a teaspoon or fork for my birthday.

I gave 4 of my place settings to my oldest nephew when he got married, but have rarely used any since moving to Texas. I added mine to my mom’s set carefully wrapped up in anti-tarnish cloth when I moved here, but it’s not doing anyone any good just sitting in a drawer. So as part of my house transition, I decided it was time to pass it on to the next generation. Not being a fool, I checked with my brother and sister-in-law to be sure what I wanted to do was equitable.

Today I spread all the pieces out on the dining table and started dividing them up. There were actually almost 16 of everything, which was more than I’d realized. Each of my nieces will get 8 place settings. But then there were the odd things that I never had in my set (spoons for iced tea and soup, little individual butter knives, pickle forks, etc.) and larger serving pieces that were a combo of Old Master pattern (large spoons and fork, pie server, gravy ladle) and miscellaneous pieces that I’d inherited from my grandmother and great-grandmother. I randomly divided these between the two piles.

Most of me is happy that the new generation will have and use these, and hopefully will think of us when they do. But part of me wants to cry to part with these pretty silver things that I never use but know where they came from and (mostly) what they’re for, including the tomato server and sugar sifter. I just love them. But it’s not fair to them to be wrapped in a drawer and ignored. So I will polish them up, wrap them carefully in anti-tarnish cloth, and pack up to give for holiday celebrating – and hope that the pretty things don’t get mangled in a disposal. But if they do, well, my mom did that as well. It’s just stuff, even if it’s shiny.

I’m keeping a few things, though. I just couldn’t part with the silver sifter or the little sterling swords for appetizers or the baby set to give when the next baby is born. But most of it is divided up, hopefully fairly. Next decisions will involve silver and silverplate bowls and platters. I do not need two intricate silver breadtrays, Revere bowls, or the well-and-tree platter. I think the nephews are getting silver for Christmas, too.

One thought on “Dividing up treasures

  1. Vickie

    My mom did something similar with her jewelry. None of it was valuable. But she gifted pieces out slowly for birthdays and Xmas to my two daughters and my niece. I think it is a great idea.

    I just gave away sets of china, mine, my grandmother’s. No one wanted my husband’s mother’s or my mother’s (pattern/colors), I have them listed for sale.

    We did the big silver sort at our house this winter. And it was hard. A few pieces of sterling went to the jewelers. It was broken or had pieces missing or no one liked it/difficult to clean designs. I sold a few pieces of silver plate that fell into the same categories.

    We kept what we loved or the kids loved. And it is all together in one place. But rarely used.

    I think you will like this story – we ended up with my husband’s great Grandparents’ monogrammed sterling flatware, passed down from my husband’s parents. When they cleaned out the house, the three grandsons drew numbers. My husband’s uncle (first draw) chose the barometer that had always hung in the hallway. My husband’s father (second draw) chose the sterling. This kills my husband’s cousins to this day.

    And to be honest, it has been packed away ever since. His parents did not use it. We have never used it. I am hoping my son wants it.

    I have my husband’s Mother’s stainless flatware. It is heavy and has the style of silver. I love it and use it for holidays and company. My every day is in one drawer, the “good” is in the next drawer. Very pleased to have it.

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