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One of my favorite heirlooms is an antique settee. It came from my Grandma Billee, who received it from one of her grandmothers. If only I knew which one! It could have been from her paternal grandmother, Bertha Barton, or her maternal grandmother, Nora Stevens. Either lady would have been in a position to own a nice, decorative settee like this. I wish I knew the full provenance of the piece, but I will continue to enjoy it anyway!

Melissa in front of the settee

Here, the settee is shown behind me (and my brand new rainbow bike with a flowered basket and banana seat!) in the golden velvet upholstery I remember from throughout my childhood. I am sure this was not the original upholstery.

Emily and Melissa on the settee, 2005

The settee has graced a prominent spot in our master bedroom ever since we have had it. Here the settee is shown around 2005 with myself and our oldest daughter. My grandmother had this upholstery added sometime before I received it. I liked the upholstery choice, and designed my master bedroom in that house to match the settee. We even used the settee as the prop for our family photos that year.

Although the settee is an antique and does need gentle use, I have never treated it like a museum piece. I want the children to know, see and use the items from their ancestors so they will remember them. I do teach them to treat the items with respect and care. In this photo, my eldest son (now a newly-minted adult) is enjoying a little rest on the heirloom settee.

William napping on the settee

Now that the settee has been in our care for 15+ years, it is just about time to refresh the finishes on it to preserve it for the next generation. I just need to decide how I would like it to look for its next iteration and find someone to hire to fix it up for me.

The settee today

What is your favorite heirloom? Do you know the provenance of it? How are you going to make sure it is preserved for future generations?

I hope you enjoyed that bit of family history as I did. See you again soon with another story from the past.


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