Not all heirlooms are worth a lot of money, but they're priceless nonetheless.
That's what readers have said in the wake of a column here about an unusual keepsake. When my dad died recently, my mom was left to ponder what to do with his trusty, decked-out golf cart.
After I wrote about that conundrum, readers told me about non-traditional heirlooms that have become family treasures.
We have the last gift my husband ever bought for his father: a Texas Longhorn, which his dad so badly wanted us to buy and raise on our new piece of land. Her name is Charlotte. She will live as long as she wants at our farm. We have since gone on to raise a lot more registered Texas Longhorns, and he would be very proud. — Angie.
This sign always hung over my mom’s kitchen sink. It now hangs over mine. — Anna.
I have my dad’s license that was issued in 1984. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on Cedar Street Bridge in 1985. I always have it in my wallet. — Cody.
I have my grandmother’s perfume box. She’s been gone since 1974. But I open this box and the faint scent of her is still there. — Karen.
I use my grandma’s aluminum antique pot to make green beans and ham. With any other pot, it doesn’t taste the same. It’s the best green beans and ham I’ve ever eaten. — Jana.
My dad inherited this from his father: It was my great-grandfather's trophy for winning the open boat race on the Milwaukee River on June 27, 1896. It has been passed down to the eldest son named either William Paul or Frederick Paul (a tradition of naming the son after the grandfather) in the Buttke family since then. — Lauren.
My dad, Walter Kohrs, was in a church dartball (a baseball-like game played with darts) league for many, many years. This trophy is for a 1,000-point game. His name is hand printed on the bottom of the plaque, these are his original darts, and my dad carved his initials (WEK) in the center of the dart holder. — Gretchen.
My mom collected figurines. This was her favorite: it’s called Michael and Pixie. My mom (whose first name was Thelma) called it “Angel Michael and Thelma.” She passed in August 2016. I call it Thelma and Tracy. — Tracy.
My father loved the subject of chemistry like no other. He could go on and on for days while talking about what things are made of and their chemical properties. When he passed, I inherited his beakers. And just like he did, I use a few to drink out of. — Temple.
I have a flannel shirt that belonged to my father-in-law. I wear it often in the house when it’s cold, usually over a t-shirt. He was such a hugger. Every time I wear it, I feel like he’s hugging me again. He’s greatly missed. — Rene.
I gave this to my dad, a Peoria police officer, when I was 16. It was displayed on his desk for 17 years. When he passed 10 years ago, my stepmom gave it to me. Whenever I look at it takes me back to the day I gave it to him and to know he cherished the gift I had given him. — Tracie.
This sign hung in my grandparents home. It makes me laugh every time I see it hanging above a light switch in mine. — Paula.
This was my grandparents’: "Dennis the Dog." I loved it as a kid, now it’s mine. — Michelle.
I have my grandma’s cast iron skillet. It was a wedding gift to her and my grandpa in the 1920s. — Kevin.
As the youngest child and only surviving sib I have ended up with a lot of my mother's things, a few with monetary value but most with sentimental value only. Among them is my Mom's potato masher. Oh, the good meals and memories that are associated with this one utensil! And I use it often; she would like that. My daughter will get it someday. — Jill.
My dad was a butcher and I have the honing steel he used to sharpen his knives. — Sherry.
This was my grandparents’. It was for milk cartons. The carton slipped in there and they used the handle to pour it. It’s sitting on my grandpa’s footstool with my grandma’s junk that sat by her chair. — Brandi.
I have my great-great-grandfather’s gavel. G.E Vaughn was a county judge in Kentucky for many years. It is priceless to me. — Chad.
As a child, I often visited a great-aunt who had the most interesting house. It had a crank-style Victrola, jade statues, all kinds of things to fascinate a child. Her husband (born in 1886; they married in 1909) owned a jewelry store. After she died, her grandsons loaded up all the "good stuff" but neglected to go to the attic. There, my mother and I found lots of old advertising items from the jewelry store, like this display prop for World War II “V for Victory” Gruen watches. I've displayed it for 40 years, a great conversation piece. — Linda.
One of my cherished possessions is this Foley creaming fork. My mother used it to make countless cakes, cookies and other delicious things. So many sweet memories. And I use it quite a bit. — Kathy.
My grandma from Germany painted these. She had a whole kitchen of large items that she hand painted. Unfortunately, after she passed, much of it was left to deteriorate. When I went to Germany, I took these doors off of one of the cabinets sitting in the garage. I wrapped them up and flew them home with me. — Nicky.
This is my grandmother’s parking meter, which I played with as a kid. Now my children play with it. Somewhere down the line, maybe grandkids will, too! — Jane.
I have a lot of my grandmother's kitchen tools. I have a rolling pin that my uncle made her in the 1940s in woodshop class. I also have her biscuit cutter and doughnut cutter, plus a tea strainer. I also have her set of Club Aluminum pans that she saved Green Stamps to buy. Guess that's where I got my love of cooking. Every time I use something that was hers, it brings back such great memories. — Roni.
My dad passed away 17 years ago. I still have his canes. They are an assortment of different wooden canes. They rest in the corner of the living room by the front door. Every time I see them, I’m reminded of him and it makes me smile. — Karen.
I have a rusty old hand grater given to me by a coworker back in the ‘80s because he knew I "liked old things.” He bought his grandma's house and it had been hers. He was murdered in that house in Peoria and I just couldn't throw it away. I still think of him when I see it. — Vicki.
This is a 1948 International Harvester “H” tractor. I spent a lot of time as a kid riding on it with my dad. It still runs, but only when it wants to. — April.
I have my great-great-great-grandmother's hammer. She was a small woman, and so is her hammer. She won a nail hammering contest with it. Her husband was a carpenter. Her name was American Ellen Evans Miller. I never met her, as she died in 1917. But my family told me about her and I have a few pictures of her. — Molly Beth.
When my grandpa passed, I kept two items: my grandpa's pipe and my grandma's candy dish. I don't smoke a pipe, but I never saw my grandpa without it. It makes me smile every time I see it. I ended up putting it in a shadow box with a wedding picture of my grandparents. I also kept their candy dish, as one of the highlights of visiting was getting a piece of candy out of that dish. They wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, but they mean the world to me. — Catherine.
I kept all my dad's tools. Every time I look at one of them, I can still hear him lecture me about taking care of them and putting them back in their place when the job is done. — Dwayne.
I have the top of the weather vane that was on my dad’s big old barn on the family farm. It’s a metal horse and I cherish it. — Barb.
PHIL LUCIANO is a Journal Star columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com, facebook.com/philluciano and (309) 686-3155. Follow him on Twitter.com/LucianoPhil.