None of my grandparents are still alive. Helen died when my mum was little, Walter when I was just out of university and May & Tom shortly after I got married. I have some things that might traditionally be considered my inheritance from them, although some of the things might seem a little odd.
From Walter I have cigar boxes, tins, wooden boxes, a stack of leather skins and offcuts, old curtains, and photos. From May & Tom I have a meat slicer, pie tins, knifes, a Mrs Beeton, a stone rabbit, a red honeysuckle plant, jewellery, and photos.
Walter was stubborn and eccentric. A big food lover. So much of a storyteller that we don’t know how much of the family history is true. He was a cobbler, creative, a good craftsman but not such a good businessman.
Helen I never knew. She was a matron. Mum’s memories make her sound gentle and caring. She was able to live with Walter so must have had super-human tolerance and patience. And thrift.
May was an organiser. She had a document tabulating all the holidays they had even taken, with destinations, dates and travelling companions. Food cupboards had lists of their contents pinned to the back of the doors. Food prices at different stores were noted in a book kept by her armchair. Household accounts were monitored with double entry book-keeping. She’d been a civil servant before getting married. They let her stay on so long as she kept using her maiden name but her working life came to end once my dad was born. A whole lot of pent-up organisational ability got directed towards running the home like a miniature government department. I recognised a lot in Hallie’s My Grandmother the IA presentation.
Tom was very different to May. He needed a few cigarettes a day, friendly chats and no office politics at work. That was about it for his demands from life.
So other things I may have inherited are pleasure in a simple life, in organising things and in crafting things. And probably a bit more from Walter than I prefer to notice.