Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Just a Beat up Ole Fork

It was just a fork, and yet on our visits to Grandma Hostetter's house,  I was always quick to claim it as "mine" for the duration of the visit. Tines slightly bent and dull from use, it truly was not among the nicest of Grandma's silverware and certainly of little material worth and yet, for some reason, I loved it.

The silverware Grandma used on a daily basis wasn't entirely a matched set, but composed of various different pieces collected over the years. So while this piece may have been different from the others, it wasn't all alone in its uniqueness and sadly it never occurred to me that it might have a story.  So I now wonder how she came to have that fork and it serves as yet one more reminder to ask questions of the older generation when we have a chance.

grandpa, family, family history, genealogy, ancestry, Nephi Glen Hostetter, LaJara Colorado, Hostetter, fork
Grandpa Nephi Glen Hostetter
and myself, California
It wasn't until I was a young adult that grandma shared with me that the fork held a special place in her heart. She told me that it was also my grandpa's favorite fork. My grandpa who died when I was two years old, the grandpa I had no memories of, the grandpa I was told loved me dearly and liked to stand at the bedroom door just to watch me sleep. Suddenly I had a tangible connection, albeit through a crazy, beat up fork.

Although I think in ways it was hard for Grandma to give it up, she decided I should be the one to have the fork. I am grateful that, although we live in a throw away society where people toss things judged to be of little material worth, my grandma knew the worth of such treasures. You see, my Grandma Hostetter loved family history, she knew the value of our connections with the past and it was she who first instilled in me the love for my ancestors.

The fork is retired from service, but sits on the shelf in my office as a reminder that Grandpa and I had something in common, albeit the love of a beat up ole fork.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

26 comments:

  1. What a great story, Michelle. It made me a little teary.

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    1. Thanks Anna. It really makes me think about what I keep and what I throw away.

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  2. Such a sweet story! You are right. We are a disposable society. I have several items that belonged to my ancestors that I cherish.

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    1. We really are Cheri, but half of our stuff is plastic or made with the idea of being disposable, so it's hardly the same. We are sure lucky when we end up the caretakers of some of those precious remembrances.

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  3. I am lucky enough to be the caretaker for my grandmother's silverware. Some pieces, like your fork, are a bit beat up, but they were used by at least 4 generations before me and I treasure them. How lucky you are to have your grandpa's fork.

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    1. We really are lucky when those things trickle down through the generations to us. Since it was one of a kind in her silverware, I really wish I knew the story though.

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  4. In a drawer of the sideboard in my dining room is a bag of flatware that Barry used growing up. None of the pieces match, but they are special reminders of his mother's fantastic cooking and lots of meals with his family and friends who were always welcome to eat, especially on Sunday's. We hung one everyday plate from my childhood and one from his on our kitchen wall. Like your fork, they have no monetary value but are still priceless.

    The fact that you were drawn to the same fork your grandfather favored makes it a really special heirloom. I love that you have it displayed in your office. Now I feel I should do something more meaningful with Barry's fork.

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    1. Your comment makes me think about how many memories are formed around the dinner table and how priceless those things are down the road. One more reason to have meals at home.

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  5. What a wonderful story - brings a little tear to my eye!

    When we were cleaning out my parents' home, we pulled all of the mismatched silver pieces out and spread then out on the kitchen table. Things like ashtrays, bowls, pitchers, etc. But there was one lone fork that seemed odd to be among the group. I picked it up and looked closely at it and there on the handle I could see something engraved. Only because I've worked on my family history did I recognize the engraving as the date of my 2x great grandparents' wedding! And it became an even bigger find when I read the newspaper account of their 25th wedding anniversary celebration and learned that their children (my great grandmother) had gifted them "a case of teaspoons, tablespoons and forks".

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    1. Oh wow! How wonderful to end up with the fork and then to figure out where it came from. Who would have ever thought a fork could mean so much, but they sure can!

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  6. Michelle, you're such a good writer and I love your stories. Is there any chance you could change your font to a darker color that gives a stronger contrast? For me it'd be easier to read. And I want to keep reading your good stories!

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    1. Thank you Becky. Changing the font is on my "to-do" list, but this just bumped it up a notch. I will definitely see what I can do. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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  7. I have a lump in my throat Michelle. What a special memory!

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    1. Thank you Barbara I am so grateful Grandma gave me the fork. Such a simple thing, but it means so much to me.

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  8. Crazy that a story about a fork brought tears to my eyes! But, I loved your story. My paternal grandparents both died by the time I was 4. I lived in the same town as them. I don't remember my grandfather at all and have limited memories of my grandmother. I wish someone would tell me stories of how much they loved me! Maybe that's why I cry... and, maybe I just need to ask what some older family members what my grandparents thought of me.

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    1. It's hard to not have grandparents Dana. My paternal grandfather died when I was 7 and my maternal grandfather when I was 2, and we lived a long ways from both of them, so I really didn't know either one. Now that you say that, I have no idea how my paternal grandfather felt about me either. I hope that someone can tell you a little more about him and maybe have a memory of a time that you spent with them. Those things can mean the world.

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  9. That's a lovely story. We don't know what items we are using today that may become treasures in the future. Is there a clock, a teacup or a bracelet that our children or grandchildren will treasure? Maybe we can try to predict & leave a story with that item so they won't have to wonder about its early days. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks Colleen. It's interesting because I think it is hard for us to look at things we consider mundane and imagine that anyone would ever care to have those things. I have a great grandmother's hat, a scarf, an old old iron, my grandpa's watch and a few things that are so super common and yet I wouldn't trade them for anything. I like your idea of leaving a story with some items. I remember reading an article some time ago that said today's society is such a throw away society that children don't have the opportunity to grow up with special memories of things. It is something to think about.

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  10. Great story Michelle, and a priceless heirloom. I do have some treasured household items that once belonged to my grandmothers, but sadly nothing I associate with either of my grandfathers.

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    1. I am sure that it is a little easier with women because they had bonnets and scarves and jewelry, but I do feel lucky to have ended up with Grandpa's favorite fork.

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  11. What a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

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  12. I know how you feel. I have a few pieces of silver ware that belonged to my grandma and even have the family initial on them. I also have some of her knitting. I cherish all the heirlooms from my ancestors and hope when I'm gone someone else will also value them.

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    1. I worry about the same thing Diane. We are sure lucky to have some of the things that have been handed down. I am sure they never would have dreamed how much a simple thing like a fork would mean to their descendants.

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  13. Enjoyed your story. Isn't it odd sometimes how something becomes your family treasure. Good to blog their stories so the memories are passed along.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. It is odd and hopefully this will save it from being tossed when I pass on some day!

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