Sentimental Attachment

We’re all in love with our hobbies… that’s what makes them hobbies!  We gather with like-minded enthusiasts and share the passion we have with them in a way that makes us feel alive.  As collectors, we remember the immeasurable time it took us to amass our possessions.  We might fondly recall the fun it was to acquire one item, or the dreadful misery overcome to secure another.  Sometimes the people around us become enamored with our interests as well, but more often than not, our families simply don’t see what we see.  And there’s a good chance our parents, aunts or uncles, or grandparents had hobbies we didn’t particularly fall in love with.

Someone on the BSA page I follow posted an old motorcycle that belonged to his dad and offered to sell it. Everyone’s reaction on the page was encouraging the person to keep the bike for its sentimental value and warning him not to sell it because he would regret it. The bike in question is probably worth between the mid teens and $20k, maybe more.

A beautiful BSA B33 Pre-Unit

This got me thinking about all the different hobbies we have and the differing interests we pursue.  My grandfather on my mom’s side was heavily into fishing.  He had two boats, boat motors, a ridiculous collection of fishing poles and lures, a bunch of fishing magazines and books, and a fair amount of antique fishing-related items.  In his later years, fishing was a huge part of his life, and for me, that was the only George Lancaster I ever knew.  When he passed away, I was just 7 years old, and I remember feeling extremely betrayed when the decision was made by the family to sell all of his fishing stuff and one of his boats.  I felt like these things WERE my grandpa.  As years went by, though, I realized that no one in the family was as crazy about fishing as he had been, and that it made sense not to hold on to all that stuff.

My dad is a big-time motorcycle guy.  He’s the whole reason I ride, and the reason I have so much interest in vintage bikes.  My inheritance of bikes, parts, and specialty tools from him some day will be appreciated, and I will cherish those things.  But my dad is also a collector of firearms, and though I am marginally interested in guns, most of his collection of old WWI and WWII rifles does not appeal to me or my sister.  He’s also been a collector (or accumulator) of welders, lathes, and countless other machines and tools from his years of working as a machinist and welder.  Those items are as close to the essence of my dad as any others.  His honesty, work ethic, and willingness to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty defined him.  But when he’s gone, no one in my family will have a need for all those things.  If the sale of those possessions could give his children or grandchildren a better life, he would want that.  After all, what are we supposed to do with a 20-foot, hundred-year-old lathe?  I don’t foresee starting a machine shop any time soon.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate my father’s belongings.  To the contrary, I have amazing memories of watching him fabricate on these very machines.  I’ve seen my dad make something out of nothing so many times it hurts my brain.  I wish I had an ounce of his mechanical know-how and ingenuity.  Whenever anyone makes mention of my dad’s knowledge, he’s never boastful or proud.  Earnestly, he always replies “I know just enough to be dangerous.”  That’s quintessentially Mark Mackey Foster.  But I don’t need a lathe to remind me he could use one.

My dad on a ’71 Bonneville he built.

One of my greatest fears as a father is someday passing away and having my children keep items that belonged to me but mean next to nothing to them.  I’d much rather they sell my things to buy what they’re into.

If you have something you’re holding on to just because someone else loved it, you’re doing yourself (and them) a disservice; your memories won’t disappear just because that item’s not around. Chances are good that your loved one would’ve wanted you to have something else YOU want, and for his or her beloved possession to find the hands of someone who might appreciate it as much as he or she did.

If I die tomorrow and my family wants to keep my guitars and motorcycles to use them, that would be great. But if they need money and aren’t going to use them, by all means, contact people who know about these items and get as much as you can for them. I won’t be needing them! It’s a great way for someone to posthumously help his or her family out financially, which is one more fond memory to add to the collection!



~ by hamiltonjacobs on May 8, 2014.

One Response to “Sentimental Attachment”

  1. […] may recall, I’ve previously written about my affinity for old things, including my enthusiasm for vintage motorcycles and mining machines of a bygone era. No less frequently than once a year, I visit McConnellsville, […]

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