Last week the family and I went for a studio session in a local photographers and today went back to choose the prints we are having made up into pieces for the wall. “Family heirlooms,” the sales pitch describes them as.
It set me thinking. A decade ago, most of my cases would involve an argument over a division of the family photographs; fortunately the age of digital photography has made such disputes passé.
That said, frequently the stumbling block to settlement terms can still be an heirloom of sentimental rather than monetary value. It’s all about letting go and yet locked into a dispute with what seems like nothing else to hold onto, it can be very hard to do.
Once upon a time I remember a client arguing about a teapot passed to her by an elderly aunt of her husband’s. Both claimed ownership but eventually the husband gave in and my client retained it. I met her a few months later in the street and couldn’t help asking after the item. It transpired that she no longer had it.
“I let go,” she explained.
I assumed she meant in the metaphysical sense but then she elaborated: “Slipped straight through my fingers when I was moving it from the dresser,” she said. “Mind, I never did like it. I only wanted it because he did. After all it was only a ‘thing’!”
originally posted on 23 June 2007