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Posted on May 20, 2021 by Christine Crosby in 

Letter About Stuff From GRAND Reader – Ruth Miller

Letter About Stuff

Dear Christine,

This issue of GRAND really hit home with me.  We all spend a lot of our lives dealing with “Stuff”.  We gather it, we sort it, we inherit it, we organize it, we discard it, we hate it and we love it. After having to deal with all my parents’ things years ago when they were in a health crisis, my husband Steve and I chose a different path. So, while still in good mind and spirit, we decided to sell our beloved home, downsize and move to a senior cooperative. While I tend not to be a collector, I was shocked at all our stuff. Luckily our children are sentimental and wanted family items that invoked a precious memory for them, as did a niece.

“While I tend not to be a collector, I was shocked at all our stuff.”

The women in my family have gathered every 2-3 years for a “Keefe Girls Reunion” packed with humor, heartaches, and memories. We are a sentimental bunch. Ten years ago, we gathered at my home from all over the country to celebrate what would have been my mother’s 100th birthday-June 26, 2011. We held a “Grandma Keefe Great Race” based on the TV show with two teams tearing around town finding clues and treasures related to her. We each brought a birthday gift we would give each other in a gift exchange. The only caveat was the gift had to be something my mother would have loved or found humorous. Hilarious fun ensued all weekend. Precious memories. Lastly, after the candles of the birthday cake had been blown out, my sister-in-law gave each of us the best gift of the weekend-a small scroll. On it was writing from Antoine de St.-Exupery, author of “The Little Prince.”


In a house that becomes a home, one hands down and another takes up the heritage of the mind and heart, laughter and tears, musings and deeds.

Love, like a carefully loaded ship, crosses the gulf between the generations.

Therefore we do not neglect the ceremonies of our passage. When we wed when we die, and when we are blessed with a child.

When we depart and when we return, when we plant, and when we harvest.

Let us build memories in our children, lest they drag out joyless lives, lest they allow treasures to be lost because they have not been given the keys.

We live, not by things, but by the meanings of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords from generation to generation.”

A couple of years ago, I was asked to read this lovely piece at my sister-in-law’s memorial service. It was an honor.

Ruth Keefe Miller

Read more from other GRAND readers.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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