Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

This topic contains 16 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Julia 8 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #158747

    Julia
    Member

    I have an item I’ve been tripping over for awhile and can use advice on what to do with it. It’s the spent casing from a rifle fired as part of the military salute at my father’s funeral.

    The VFW were careful to pick up these casing and give one to each of his children. (Deep breath.)

    We are not a military family. My father was drafted into the 2nd World War, served honorably, then came home and built a life. His military service was a short, but clearly important, part of his life.

    The only thing I can think to do with this thing is to drill a pair of holes in it and put it on a keychain. But I’m a little worried that people might ask about it, and the answers to their questions could be serious conversation-stoppers. Still, it seems sort of … wrong to just chuck it in a box somewhere. At least on a keychain it would be a daily reminder of him.

    This thing could easily be clutter, and I’d like to prevent that from happening. Anyone have any ideas?

  • #169610

    margaret
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    First of all, is this something that you actually want to keep as a memento of your father, or are you keeping it because you feel obliged? To me, your post reads as if you are mainly keeping it because you feel you have to. If it isn’t a memento that you actually want, you could ask your siblings if any of them want it, and if not, discard it. If you want to keep it, then klutzgrrl’s idea sounds great. I actually have a file in my filing cabinet where I keep some things of my dad’s. E.g. I have a couple of papers that he wrote on — a grocery list and something where he was doing some kind of calculation (he was a surveyor). I just like having them because they are his writing. If you have a designated spot where you are keeping memento’s for your father, then why not put it there. You don’t have to see it daily to remember your dad! I still have an old shirt of his that I just keep in my drawer and look at sometimes, but I find that as time has passed, I have been able to get rid of many of the things that I couldn’t get rid of right after he died.

    Also, that casing is a memento of your father’s funeral, not of your father. I saved a rose for years from the arrangement on my dad’s casket, but really, I don’t need that to remember him or his funeral by. I like my little grocery list much better.

    Good luck with finding a solution. It’s tough losing a parent.

  • #169611

    luxcat
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    I agree with klutzgirl, the first thing I thought of was that a small, deep frame with a photo (or, if you don’t have a photo you like enough to use, another momento of his or a group of family momentos) would be nice. We did this our selves using a box frame, felt, and some self sticking velcro. turned out nice.

  • #169620

    minneapolisite
    Participant

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    If you were to do the keychain option and anyone asks an uncomfortable question, I would just respond “It’s a family heirloom” and leave it at that. You don’t have to give everyone the whole story every time and only the rudest people will pry.

  • #169624

    Julia
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    Great answers. It’s true that it’s a memento of the funeral, not my father, but his death is recent enough (this summer) that the two are still a bit blurred. I am a pacifist so I have trouble expressing pride in military things, otherwise a display would be excellent (this is in no way a criticism of military service or families; it’s a tenet of my religion.)

    I have a small cedar box with things from my mother’s funeral. I think I’ll “declutter”/reorganize that, and add Dad’s stuff to it.

    I am also “building” two small memory boxes, one for each parent – Dad’s is a cigar box, Mom’s another small cedar box my grandmother kept for needlework supplies. Dad’s contains a few old hand tools, his shaving mug, a set of keys, his pocket knife. I have more small things of his than Mom’s so the things in her box are more symbolic – part of a plane ticket, a fragment of sheet music, some miniature books, a handwritten recipe card, a duplicate of her favorite fountain pen, her watch.

    Setting up these boxes has been a great way to process a lot of emotions in what has been a pretty emotional summer.

    Thank you for your comments; they prodded my memory. (And yes, if I didn’t remember I had the box, isn’t it clutter? Nope. It’s in my cedar chest, out of the way, and the things in it have meaning, when I choose to open it.)

    You guys are peaches.

  • #169635

    SunshineR
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    I agree with klutzgrrl’s posts.

  • #169639

    margaret
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    Julia — the memory boxes sound perfect! I LOVE the cigar box. My dad always kept coins in his drawer in a cigar box. Never in my life did I ever see him smoke at all, although I found out the year before he died that he had — he’d broken his leg and was asked to be in a study, and in the questions they asked if he had ever smoked. He said yes, but he quit when it got too expensive and cigarettes went up to 30 cents a pack. Anyway, I wish I had that cigar box, but I think I gave the coins to my mom, and she probably tossed it because it was falling apart. That would have been a good keepsake. We got our milk money from it when we were in school, and when I was in university, I’d still raid it for laundry machine coins! Plus I could actually use it, since I always have coins in my pocket at the end of the day.

  • #169650

    Julia
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    ps to klutzgrrl – meant to say OMG a TANK ROUND????!!!!!!!

    Good heavens…

  • #169666

    ValH
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    I am not a military person at all and neither is my family, but we have some interesting pieces made out of bullet casings. My grandfather made two picture frames using long bullet casings on the sides and the picture in the middle. Even though he died before me or my siblings were born, but brother still keeps it because it is a cool remembrance, and he actually made it.

    My grandmother has a the casing from something like a tank round, about a foot and a bit high that she uses as a vase for dried flowers. It is really cool because you would have no idea that it was from a weapon.

  • #169693

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    personal opinion:i think you are giving way to much sentimental value to what is essentially trash. separated from the story, it becomes a meaningless item. in 1.5 generations the story will be forgotten and the casing will end up in the back of a junk drawer and no one will know how it go there. toss it. frame pictures of your father alive and hang them on the wall.

  • #169695

    bandicoot
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    i agree with erasergirl!
    this isn’t a memento….it’s a bit of junk that has been thrust upon you, and even worse, it is junk that has no meaning or place in your memories of your dad.

    my father was in the british army when he was very young, and he is complete pacifist these days. you couldn’t find a more raging anti-military type anywhere.
    he’d be horrified if the army showed up at his funeral. and we’d be completely bemused.
    military salutes? bullet casings? these things are so far removed from my father’s life for the last 55 years, as to be utterly meaningless.

    it sounds as though you have plenty of lovely relevant personal things to put in the memory box (i like this idea immensely) already.
    let the bullet casing…and the guilt….go.

  • #169697

    Julia
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    You’re (the two of you) probably right, although I can’t help but note that. separated from our stories, we pretty much all become meaningless items <grin>.

    I think I’ll keep it around for a little while, until the memories fade, and then it will probably be lost or pitched. In short, keeping it is important to me right now, but it won’t always be – so I’ll keep it for now, and toss it if/when I’m ready.

  • #169702

    bandicoot
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    i think that’s a pretty smart solution.
    i missed the bit that this is a recent loss (i am so sorry).
    you’ll let it go when it feels right to do so.

  • #169704

    Julia
    Member

    Oh dear. Bullet casing – what to do

    Thanks. Don’t feel bad for missing it, I was trying to “underemphasize” that part.

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