If you have heard of Harry Potter, then you know about the wizardly game of Quidditch. Players fly around on their broomsticks playing a game similar in style to basketball. There are Chasers who move the ball up and down the field and try to score points by throwing the ball through the opponent’s hoops. Beaters are the defense players who with their wooden paddles, protect the chasers from the opponent’s onslaught. The Seeker is the glamour star who automatically wins the game if he catches the golden snitch. Finally, there is the Keeper. In hockey, he would be the goalie. It is the job of the Keeper to protect the team’s three goal hoops so the opponent does not score points.
It occurred to me one day that Keepers are not limited to quidditch. There is a Keeper in every family. And their jobs are similar – quidditch Keepers protect their three rings, family Keepers protect the family heritage.
You know the Family Keepers. It’s the cousin, the uncle, the grandmother, or sister that keeps track of the family lineage. They research and copy down the genealogies. They record the stories of generations past. They collect all the old faded pictures of immigrants and settlers, grandparents and parents. They are the Keepers of the family history. They keep it for their own sake. They keep it to be sure that future generations know from whence they came. They keep it because family is important.
My mother-in-law is a Keeper. A walk through her house is like a walk through a museum. Great Grandpa’s Bible, Great Grandma’s china, Tanta Anna’s table linen. Anything saved from the older generations can be seen in her house. Mom B has collected tidbits of family history and printed it for all the descendants to keep. It’s our history.
My sister is a Keeper. She loves history and research work, and has done a wonderful job of digging into the past to collect pictures and information on our ancestry. She wrote a year-long blog called “Beaded Bells” commemorating the 100th birthday of our grandmother. We learned many things we never knew before.
I am a Keeper for my family. I have inherited precious family pieces from my ancestry, and my husband’s ancestry. I have Great Grandma B’s old secretary desk. I have a cut glass platter that belonged to Tanta Anna. I have my Great Grandma Arndt’s German wedding Bible, along with many other old German religious books. I have my mother’s pearls. And pictures… tons and tons of pictures!
My husband and I are now at a point in our lives where we want to downsize. What do we do with all the historical family pieces? Maybe it is time to pass on some of the family heirlooms to our children. What would they want? They are young adults just starting out in life. They live far away from home. They live in small apartments with little space for sentimental antiques. Maybe we should keep them still. The children know that if Mom and Dad still have everything, then where ever we are is still “home” for them. They take comfort in knowing that however far they roam we are keeping the family home fires burning for them. We are still the Keepers. Some day it will be their turn.