DEAR ABBY: We have a large collection of 18th- and 19th-century antiques, mostly inherited. It consists of furniture, silver, china, Oriental rugs and artwork. Our son professes an interest when asked, but recently threw out a very good (but not antique) rug we had given him. He replaced it with a rug from IKEA.
His wife is a sweet woman, but does not care at all about possessions. Their house is chaos -- a big way station. Because these possessions are family items going back generations, I'm floored by his not understanding the significance and the good fortune of having them. How should I approach this? -- ROBERT IN ATLANTA
DEAR ROBERT: Talk to your son, but above all, do not be defensive. His and your daughter-in-law's inability to appreciate the value of the heirlooms isn't a personal rejection. Forgive me if this seems blasphemous, but some people consider antiques to be simply used furniture. And they don't want the responsibility of polishing silver or having to worry about breaking a dish.
Because your son's lifestyle is so different from your own, please give serious consideration to donating your heirlooms to a museum or selling them to someone who will appreciate their value. The proceeds could be placed in trust for the next generation of your family, and you will have peace of mind knowing your heirlooms will be preserved.