In the process of all that downsizing, clutter busting, junk clearing, and reorganizing we did when we moved three years ago, I often asked myself whether an item was something that might one day be passed down to future generations. I asked it about china and paintings and collectible figurines. I asked it about Christmas ornaments and record albums and books. I asked it about jewelry and electronics and furniture.
Truthfully, very little made that cut. After all, we have only one child, a son, who is not one bit interested in our wedding china or Waterford crystal; who could care less about my opal necklace or sapphire earrings; who has no earthly use for Hummel figurines or all those pink glittery Christmas tree ornaments or the paper machaie angel my students made for me.
I did keep a few items for the sake of posterity: all my jewelry, including an antique ring from a distant aunt inscribed 1892; all our photo albums; our wedding china; two serving dishes from our respective paternal grandmothers; a framed charcoal sketch done by another distant aunt circa 1884; three handmade quilts; and a few odd bits of kitchen ware that had a distinct sentimental value. Who will want these things after I’m gone? Anyone? Probably not. Among friends who are, like me, “of a certain age,” this topic gets discussed on a regular basis. “I really need to start shedding all this stuff now,” they might say. “I know my kids won't want any of it.”
But last week we had an opportunity to pass down something very significant, something our son has long loved and coveted.
Within in a few days of Brian's birth back in February of 1980, my husband bought a 1979 Special Edition black Pontiac Trans Am - the famous “Bandit” car from the Smoky and the Bandit movies. There were only about 1000 of those cars manufactured, and one of them has belonged to us for almost 36 years. The car became a real source of connection between Brian and his dad - they began going out for regular “boys night outs” when Brian was about 18 months old. They took it to some shows, but mostly just enjoyed tooling around town in it. Brian loved impressing his friends with it; he had his high school senior photos taken with it; he drove it to his wedding.
It’s been sitting idle in my mom’s garage for the past 10 years, waiting for all the circumstances to be right to transport it to Brian’s garage in Texas. Last week we finally made it all happen. A transport driver picked up it last Friday morning, and it was delivered to a shop in Dallas for some mechanical work to get it up and running again.
Finally The Bandit has been passed down to the next generation.
There is a definite satisfaction in passing down treasured possessions. It lends a sense of continuity, of pleasure in seeing a new generation honor and enjoy something that was a part of your past. Seeing our son’s excitement about this car, hearing him talk about taking his own son for rides in it, makes us all the more pleased about this particular legacy. And it gives us a renewed sense of anticipation for the future, knowing we’ve provided our very grown up and self-sufficient son with something that is significantly meaningful to him and will bring him joy.
That’s what we really want to pass down anyway, isn’t it?