GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021 - 23

legacy
Since I'm still around,
my son was able
to show me things
on Zoom, where I
could declare " keep "
or " relinquish, " and
share the stories of
pieces that had special
meaning. However, in
most families, when
the older generation
passes away, adult children and grandchildren
are faced with going
through all the " stuff "
left behind. They often
don't know what is
valuable or not, particularly as it connects to the family's history. Things that
have been in the family for generations may be lost,
simply because you don't know the story of it.
Even though I could give Michael oral histories,
nowhere were the stories of these items written down,
the gold dishes from my great grandmother (read
more about that here), the prayer shawl that I bought
when on a heritage tour to see the concentration
camps in Poland. The story about where, how, and
why I acquired things was all in grandpa's head.
Susan Dvora is a real estate agent and a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist. She says this
is a common experience for families. " I've found
through my work that a lot of us hold onto things that
are sentimental and meaningful to us, " says Susan.
Unfortunately, however, her experience has been that
23 GRAND

Spring 2021

" their children don't want any of it. " On the
flipside, Susan also has heard many people
say they wish they had asked their grandma
and grandpa about some of the family
keepsakes, while they were still alive.

How would this impact your
family?

"

I'd love to know if this sounds like a
problem that would come up in your
family? Have you ever thought about how
to pre-empt burdening younger family
members with figuring out what to do with
everything in the basement, right after the
recent loss of a family member?
I've talked to others who mentioned
they would love to know the stories behind

Things that have been in the family for
generations may be lost, simply because
you don't know the story of it

"

the punch bowl on the credenza. " I just know it
was a gift at my now 85 years old mom's
sweet sixteen. " That gave birth to the idea
for a web-based system for gathering and
sharing the stories of your " stuff " now while
the story-holders are still alive. The idea is
that along with a website there would be an
accompanying app-such that you could aim
your smartphone at the item, and it recognizes

the image and then connects to a private database
where family members have previously entered details
and images of said item.
By doing this while you're alive-you can have
conversations. For example, I had a collection of
silver dollar coins, some of which had even been
my father's. My son asked, " what do you want to do
with these? " I said " they're yours, but some of them
were your grandpas- your grandson's great, greatgrandpa. With that conversation and perspective,
Michael decided to keep a selection of the collection-he will sell some (they're valued at $30-35 each)
but for key years, he is going to write stories for his
grandson about the year they are from.
Who is the family holder in your family? Would you
as the grandparent write the stories of your possessions? Would it be your adult children? Or is this not
an issue, perhaps because you've already downsized,
or you've already had these conversations. Before
going further on devising a solution, I'd love to hear
if it's enough of a problem for enough people. Either
way, I'd be grateful if you would fill out the survey let
us know.
Jerry Witkovsky, Author of The
Grandest Love and a longtime social work professional,
grandparenting activist, and
passionate grandpa, author Jerry
Witkovsky offers fresh approaches
to help grandparents enter their
grandchild's world, to leave values, not just valuables
and create a living legacy. Jerry shares more about
the Grandparent-Grandchild Connection School
Program and encourages grandparents to unleash
their creativity and unique gifts to transform their
family at www.grandparentsunleashed.com.


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GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021

Contents
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021 - Cover1
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021 - 2
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021 - 3
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021 - Contents
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GRAND Magazine - Spring 2021 - 10B
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