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Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.

My grandparents were very influential in my life, rocks in my unstable existence especially after my father died when I was fourteen, and my mother was floundering. My parents weren’t happily married, and as long as I can remember, our home was often filled with arguing and complaints from my mother, about my dad, about her life. My father was a workaholic corporate lawyer, but even when he died at 42 he was still climbing the corporate ladder. He was however a good friend to many in the community and in our church. He didn’t spend a lot of “quality time” with us (but not because he didn’t love us), and he was always hurried and pressed for time to do everything.

Much of the way I lead my life, particularly my family life, is based on how my grandparents lived. I loved visiting them, spending weekends from the time I was just a toddler, and then with my sister when she came along. Spending time with our grandparents was fun; they did things with us, grandma made us cookies (the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole world), and seemed to enjoy having us around.

They lived a nice orderly life: meals on a schedule, pleasant walks and drives, cooking from scratch, board and card games for entertainment, and just a nice pace of living without major upheavals or chaos, which is what life at home was like. Those are hand-me-downs that I continue to enjoy and for which I am very grateful. How pleased they would be if they knew how I value the simplicity of their home life.

I have other hand-me-downs, or gifts, from my grandparents after their death: a couple pieces of silver plate serving dishes, some hand-made crochets table linens, and a tea-set given to my grandmother by her mother-in-law, all items lovely, but not particularly useful to me. None are of great value, so I continue to hold on to them, but I really should either pass them along or get rid of them, selling them if possible to someone who actually wants them.

I, too, like peace in my home. For better or worse, I avoid confrontation at all costs (and sometime there have been costs to me). My grandparents were very industrious, both had jobs until they retired, and they had social activities. They also had a easygoing way about them, achieved by being organized and content with their lives and what they had. I’m glad that I now have some of what they had; it was worth passing down.