Monday, April 3, 2017


I never dwelled on the subject of inheritance because my family has had a record of living so long. My great grandparents lived into their 90's. My three remaining grandparents are also near their 90's. The one grandparent I lost to Parkinson's disease lived to be almost 80.

My parents eventually brought up the subject a few Christmas's ago while vacationing with my brother and his family in Florida about the estate they plan to leave behind. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal but with much of it in farm land that has dramatically risen in price these last three decades, there may be tax implications I will have to eventually deal with. I still hope I don't have to deal with them for a couple decades to come but it definitely got me thinking.

That discussion planted a seed into my head about what my grandparents will leave behind. I remember staying at their house over the years and sleeping in a bedroom set of this exquisitely beautiful antique furniture that belonged to my 3rd great grandparents. It was thick burl walnut and marble. (The rest got "lost" by a shipper hauling my great grandparents furniture to Florida.) When my grandparents were looking to move to Florida 25 years ago, they had to downsize and my uncle ended up with the bedroom furniture since he had the room. Long story short, he ended up in a nasty divorce and part of the nastiness resulted from his now ex-wife selling that antique furniture for a few hundred dollars at a garage sale while my uncle was out of town.

Now 25 years later, I had hoped they still had some of it left but as we moved what remains of their furniture into their new apartment a month ago, it was apparent that it was indeed all gone. The furniture that remains is either very decrepit pieces from the 80's or some more "modern" stuff purchased in the 90's. It was a little disheartening because I've wanted to have something of theirs to pass onto my family eventually.

I did take the opportunity to convert all their home movies and slides into digital format and still hope to do the same with their pictures when we finally get them unpacked. But seeing them on a computer screen still isn't quite the same as touching something that they loved and cherished. I finally got my chance the other day when my Grandpa asked my Dad or Uncle if they wanted his rifle. My Uncle declined and my Dad, who has several rifles passed down through his family, really didn't want it either. So I took it. It is an old Steven's Savage 87A .22 rifle that has seen its better days, or at least the stock has. It was made sometime in the 1940's so I'm not surprised at the condition of the stock but all the steel components are in perfect condition and well taken care.

I really have no need for the rifle and after taking it apart and putting it back together, I stuck it in a closet and gave all the old ammunition that came with it over to my father to use or dispose. Maybe one day when my daughters are older, or perhaps their children, I will bring it out again and we can shoot off a few rounds while I tell them stories of my grandpa using it to hunt squirrels when he was a young man.

Stevens Savage 87A with stock in better condition than my grandfather's rifle


sage said...

The first (and only) deer I shot was with a Savage Steven's double barrel shotgun that was my maternal grandfather's. I didn't know Savage Stevens made rifles.

Kelly said...

Its a good shot that squirrel hunts with a .22! I use a shotgun for everything I hunt (or use to hunt), though I do own a few rifles. I'm not sure what will happen to our collection when the day comes. While mine are all in good condition, only one might be considered a "collector" someday (a fancy Browning Citori). My husband, on the other hand, has some well loved Belgian-made Brownings. I'm not sure any of our kids or grandkids will ever use or even want them.

As for furniture, jewelry, and other stuff (whether truly valuable or just sentimental).... I'm letting my younger daughter be in charge of divvying things up. Let's hope it's not anytime soon.

Bob said...

I have a fair amount of my parents' furniture and it gives me great joy to use it and to know some of it was passed down from even earlier generations. My mother loved old things -- some of which are genuine antiques and some of which is, well, some might call it junk but it's still special to me.

Ed said...

Sage - I had never heard of a Savage Stevens until I read those words stamped into the barrel. I know some models were prone to jamming if not kept clean but can't really tell from the limited information out there exactly which models.

Kelly - I really can't think of anything I own either that I would consider a collector's item. Probably the things I own that I would save first in the case of a fire would be my journals and then maybe some of the wooden items I have made over the years. After that, it is all replaceable.

Bob - The joy for me is the joy they had using it as well.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

That's a neat item to pass down the generations. I'm not at all comfortable around guns (I've got one my dad left behind in a shoebox in my closet because I'm too afraid to handle it), but they definitely have a history to tell. It sounds like you're enjoying having your grandparents back in town. :)
Thanks for sharing the info on the slides in the last post as well!

Ed said...

Pumpkin Delight - I wasn't really raised up around guns though I have been exposed to them from time to time. With two young kids around the house, that is why I played it safe and sent all ammunition home to the farm. Someday when they are old enough, we can go down there and teach them how to safely handle a gun should they ever want or need too but I don't plan on raising them up around guns either.