A Wealth of Memories 

By Kathy Knotts, Managing Editor

What things will you pass on to the next generation? I don’t mean the lofty things, like kindness, empathy, or confidence. I mean, the things …. the things that fill your closets, drawers, and attics. Are they valuable to anyone besides yourself? Do you have an untapped treasure trove awaiting your descendants?  

I’ve been thinking this week about all the things we pass on. I unleashed a flood of photos sent from my mother and two sisters after asking for that picture of our 1984 snowstorm a few weeks ago. That sent my mother into a flurry of decluttering boxes of pictures, negatives, and albums. The photos go back decades and fill deep drawers in cabinets in her living room. She asked us if we wanted copies of all these photos, photos she has held on for all our lives. I declined. And then my younger sister offered to bring a photo scanner with her on her next visit. Technology to the rescue.  

Despite having my own boxes full, physical photos are no longer of interest to me, but I know what value they hold for my mother. Film cameras were the best way to capture a memory. Now we fill our phones with digital selfies and Instagram posts. How will we pass these things on, I wonder?  

My grandmother’s milk glass cake stand sits above my cabinets in my kitchen. I don’t think I’ve ever put more than maybe one cake on its surface. I keep it for its connection to my family’s past. I know I will never let it go and that someday my sons will unpack it and have to decide what to do with it.   

On the flip side, I’ve been handed “heirlooms” that held absolutely zero value to me, and so they were easily passed along to someone else who needed them. I’m not unsympathetic to those who would rather hold on to their possessions for as long as possible.  

I know it’s hard to let go. That’s just part of being human, putting emotional weight on inanimate objects. Our things hold memories. They hold meaning. They hold stories.  

It’s those stories writer Susan Nolan set out to discover in this week’s feature story on appraisal fairs. In her reporting, she even took a few of her own prized possessions and made the trek down to Colton’s Point in St. Mary’s County to meet with experts who could tell her what her items were worth. While the appraisers could examine and analyze something to come up with a monetary value, they could never value an item’s historical worth to its owner.  

Elsewhere in this issue, we follow other stories that highlight the past and the future. An iconic Annapolis business celebrates a major milestone but also hands the reins to a new owner. A speaker series for Black History Month charts Annapolis’s past and then looks into its future. In Solomons, a beloved restaurant closes its doors, just as new businesses are being birthed every month here on the Bay. The wheel of time continues to turn. 

Kathy Knotts is managing editor of CBM Bay Weekly.