For Sale: My Family’s Legacy

While surfing e-bay, I stumbled apon a listing for some World War II memorbilia. Namely, a man’s medals, logbook, cufflinks, medals and stripes. There were several auctions like this, apparently someone wants to sell off their late grandfather’s things and pocket the cash. There was another auction similar where someone was auctioning a longtime family heirloom, passed down over six generations because she wanted a vacation.

This angers and saddens me. My family has no real history to speak of. After my father’s untimely passing, a relative took most of our family possessions and ran. My mom doesn’t really talk much about my grandfathers (who both served in WWII) and it wasn’t until I married my husband that I really understood how important it is that you know where you came from. I’m rather sad that my daughters don’t have anything passed down to them besides an onyx ring and their great grandfather’s service cap. The fact that these people can’t see the value in something like that makes me sad. The medals are the worst, as Grampa risked life and limb to earn those stripes and medals. A museum would gladly take those off of your hands. I actually bid on something from this guy’s collection of auctions because it made me sad to see something that was likely once so prized being sold with unlocked iPhones and Justin Bieber’s hair.

I understand desperate times sometimes call for things we once loved to be sold but some things should be kept sacred IMO. My sister in law proudly wears her grandmother’s wedding rings and I imagine short of life saving surgery for one of her daughters, nothing would pry those things from her finger. I can’t imagine my husband putting his grandfather’s service cap on ebay. I would rather eat glass then sell my wedding rings. You get the idea.

While yes, they are just meager things, they are things that connect you to your roots and tell a story. Someday, Gramma and Grampa are long gone and the only thing that keeps them with us are the stories, the knicknacks and the treasures. Why give those things away?

I guess I don’t get it because the idea of family means so much to me. It wasn’t until I was a teenager until I felt like I was part of one and my husband entertains my constant need to build memories and traditions and all of the things that it seems were lost with my parents’ generation. Either way, I would hate to think that something I wore (or earned) and cared enough about to give to someone would end up auctioned off to a stranger, who would never know it’s true value.