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Before my dad died, I heard him say that he wanted my sister to distribute his instruments to people who know how to play them.

 

She was going to sell them, when he died, but then, my husband who really was distraught about losing my dad wanted them.

 

I said no. That wasn't what my dad wanted. My sister said yes because if my dad wanted his way, he could have given them away before he died. He left her in charge, and she chose to give them to my Dh.

 

Now the director of the orchestra my dad started called wanting to borrow instruments for new members. Specifically an alto dormera and a bass balalaika.

 

If my dad was here, that is what he would want. On the other hand, I don't have a copy of TWTM or my art curriculum or my Latin curriculum because I loaned them to people who will never return them.

 

Someone please tell me not to be selfish, even though I really do not want to lose another tiny link to my father.

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I'd keep them.

 

There are always opportunities down the road to loan them. Doesn't have to be rightthisverynow.

 

I'd give yourself some more time. My concern is, if they were damaged, or you didn't get them back, it would be incredibly painful for you right now (I seem to remember that you lost your Dad fairly recently). Later on, it may be easier.

 

:grouphug:

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It is coming up in 2 years ago, but for some reason, it doesn't get any easier for me. My sister was with my dad when he died and she said he took every bit of sadness with him. She feels closer to him than ever.

 

I feel the loss more and more each day.

 

If I loan them out, I doubt I'd ever see them again. If my own "friends" can't return my books, why would a stranger give back a free instrument?

 

My sister is coming this weekend. I'll talk to her about it. It is even worse that the person asking is trying to continue my fathers legacy. We've known her all our lives. It would be pretty crummy to tell her no, so I just did not pick up the phone.

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My sister was going to sell them, but when my husband said he wanted them for our children, and frankly, because he can not let go of a tiny piece of my father either, my sister just gave him tens of thousands of dollars worth of instruments.

 

So my dad said to sell/give them to people who would play them, but we kept them instead.

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Maybe you will feel better if you honor your father's wishes. Holding them so tightly won't make it any better. You have said yourself that you are not feeling better and you have had them all this time. So. clearly keeping them isn't helping.

 

Why don't you give one of the needed instruments to the orchestra. That way, you are at least partially honoring his wishes.

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When my grandpa died, one of my grandmother's struggled with grief so I began reading everything I could about grief so I could help her. Did you know that studies show a person takes about 5 years 'average' to move through the grief process when someone close to them dies? You are only 2 years in. It you may need 20 years. Who knows. Your children may want those some day. If you aren't ready, you are not ready. I would keep them.

 

Otherwise, I would sell them for a fair price. You don't have to ask top dollar. Or give them knowing they will not come back again.

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Could you maybe sell one and use the money for lessons for your kids to learn some of the others? That is a kind of compromise. I really feel for you on this one, sometimes it is very hard to do what a dying person asks of you.

 

I wouldn't give them away though, or even loan them without a written agreement. You are right, when the person who got them needed some cash they will put them on Craigslist when they figure out that it would be hard for you to prove they were not a gift. I doubt your father would have wanted you to give them to someone who would take advantage of you. The instruments are part of your inheritance.

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Here is a weird story that is probably affecting my emotions about the whole thing.

 

Ds is a very good piano player. When he was 9, he heard someone playing a hammer dulcimer, and drempt of having one tuned like a piano. I found someone on the other side of the country willing to make one for him for a small fortune.

 

When I told my dad, it turned out that he had one, he had bought in Russia. He gave it to ds for his 10th birthday. Ds played it in a concert with my dad years later.

 

When my dad was in Hospice, he said he needed to borrow it. That was a pretty normal, but after he died, my sister said it wasn't in his house.

 

Someone from the orchestra had it. She was in the concert where my son played it. I asked her how she could not know that it belonged to my son? She said she assumed my dad had given her a different one, because she thought my son's was painted. It isn't.

 

My sister went to her house and picked it up for me.

 

Later, when I hacked into my dad's computer, I saw email after email from this lady trying to emotionally blackmail my dad for money, and in every single one, she reminded him that she wanted my son's dulcimer.

 

This was happening in the last week of my dad's life, when his brain was affected by high ammonia levels. I can not believe anyone was thinking of getting more from him at that point.

 

And to make matters worse, this lady is such a "sincere Christian" that she can not be on stage at the same time as belly dancers.

 

Even after this, we gifted her, her husband and both of her children with instruments to remember my father by.

 

All of this is to say, that while I feel like I am, by nature very generous, I've had my eyes opened to how much people will take.

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Your most recent post totally changes my answer.

 

I was going to say, Your dad already told you what he wanted, so honor that.

 

Now I'd say, If that lady was still in the orchestra, I wouldn't give her one.single.thing.

 

But if it's just a loan, and it's not concerning this lady at all, then I would make up a paper of some sort to show that you are loaning the instruments that they need for a certain amt of time--like a contract. Then I'd get the "leader" or the person who asked you or whatever, to sign it.

 

As for other instruments, I *might* consider donating (not selling, since your dad said to GIVE them) to some sort of struggling youth orchestra or place where they don't have enough $ to buy instruments or something like that.

 

 

A silent instrument is like a bird in a cage--Birds were created to fly; instruments were created to play music. If no one is playing them, how much is being lost? Your dad wanted to share the gift of music that those instrument bring; how generous a spirit he must have had! Can you open your hands, even a little, to share what your dad can't anymore?

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

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Wow, even after what this woman did you still gave her family four instruments? I totally think you are being generous. There is no way you should feel badly about keeping some of your father's things close at this point. Even though you don't feel like letting them go after two years I think that opportunities will come up to bless people that YOU feel led to bless and you will feel good about it. I would wait for that time even though it might be many more years.:grouphug:

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Thanks. I'm sure the request is for new people. I doubt she is still in the orchestra. No one could stand her, but my dad loved and taught her children. They should not have to suffer for what she did.

 

I'll get my sister to negotiate a contract with penalties if it is broken and deliver them to the orchestra, because I don't drive downtown.

 

She is always telling me to let her know what she can do to help. It will make her happy to do something for me.

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I'd keep them.

 

There are always opportunities down the road to loan them. Doesn't have to be rightthisverynow.

 

I'd give yourself some more time. My concern is, if they were damaged, or you didn't get them back, it would be incredibly painful for you right now (I seem to remember that you lost your Dad fairly recently). Later on, it may be easier.

 

:grouphug:

 

:iagree:

 

Also, I think it's perfectly valid to say that YOUR children, his grandchildren, are people who will play the instruments. That will fulfill what your dad wanted.

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Actually, I agree with Anne & Imp. If it's not right now, that's ok. There's no time limit.

:grouphug:

:iagree: If you don't feel right about this in your heart, don't do it. There will be other opportunities. I would make sure you are ready to not see the instruments come back. I have clothes in my closet that are my mom's. It is just recently that I could let some of them go. It will be 2 years this week that my mom died. :grouphug: Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time.

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I play a fiddle that I call a "trash picked" one.

 

Dh's boss's neighbor's dh passed away. He had been a locally famous bluegrass musician for several decades. One morning when the boss was getting in his car to leave for work, he saw various instrument cases sticking out of the neighbor lady's trash can. With the sound of the trash truck literally turning onto their street, he raced to the door and asked her if he could take the instruments out of the trash.

 

Even though she wasn't happy about it, she agreed so he went out and grabbed about 8 instruments with the truck only 2 houses away. He asked the woman why she was getting rid of the instruments. She said that she knew her dh was cheating on her when he was off playing bluegrass and that she wanted to be rid of all of the memories. The boss tried to tell her that she could sell them for quite a bit of money but she declined. She told him to take them if he wanted them or to stop the trash truck and toss them in on his way to work.

 

So of course he came to work and told my dh, who immediately paid $200 and bought me a fiddle. The boss decided to keep the 2 guitars, one for himself and one for a family member. The rest he sold locally and then donated all the money to the local music college's fund to buy instruments for struggling music students. (BTW, my fiddle has since been appraised for over $7000.00 - these were not junky instruments.)

 

My fiddle has brought much pleasure to me and my family. For many years we played gospel bluegrass music at numerous small churches and more nursing homes than I can count. Based on things people have said, I believe that my "trash picked" fiddle brought a smile to many a face and helped usher peace and gladness into many hearts.

 

While I am so sorry for the pain the original woman associated with those instruments, I can say that I have always been grateful for my fiddle and plan to hand it down to my daughter some day. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, just trying to give you an idea of what can happen when an instrument changes hands. Aren't there other possible recipients you could choose that would be outside your immediate circle, so could let them go with no strings and then be unaware of any associated drama?

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Hmmm....Okay, your dad wanted the instruments to go to people who would love and play them, right? But you're uncomfortable "loaning" them to people who may or may not treat the instruments with care and respect, and believe that you would essentially be giving them away to total strangers, right? So here's what I *think* I would do in your situation.

 

If you are okay with parting with the instruments, sell them at fair market value. Then donate the proceeds to the organization your father would have wanted to help (orchestra, chamber ensemble, etc...) as a scholarship fund for those unable to rent or purchase their own instruments. If you "loan" them, you're still emotionally invested in the instruments, since you expect (or hope?) to get them back at some time. If you sell them, they will either be in homes (like mine) where musical instruments are played, enjoyed, and lovingly cared for, or at least in homes where their value (hey! I spent $$ on that instrument! You'd better take care of it!) is respected.

 

Just my $.02.

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I guess that we really do not want to let them go. We want to keep them.

 

We could have sold them when my dad died, but my husband wanted them for our family, and our children.

 

We don't want to sell them.

 

I don't even want to loan them out, but I will let my sister and husband have a vote on what to do.

 

I feel like a very selfish person right now, and that is a little new for me.

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We want to keep them.

 

There you go! There's your answer. :grouphug:

 

Fwiw, as a musician myself, I could never bring myself to part with a loved one's instrument- even if I knew it would never be played again. There's something about the emotions that are poured into a musical instrument that makes it more than just a hunk of carved metal or wood, kwim? (I wasn't going to post that bit, but it sounds like you've kind of made up your mind.)

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The memory of knowing that people that needed them are making beautiful music with those instruments will mean more in the long run than the instruments themselves, collecting dust and getting ruined.

 

Can you ask the orchestra director for tickets in exchange for loaning out the instruments? Or a recording or something? Trade the instruments for experience?

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I guess that we really do not want to let them go. We want to keep them.

 

We could have sold them when my dad died, but my husband wanted them for our family, and our children.

 

We don't want to sell them.

 

I don't even want to loan them out, but I will let my sister and husband have a vote on what to do.

 

I feel like a very selfish person right now, and that is a little new for me.

 

You are not being selfish! Wanting them for your own children is not selfish. Honestly, I would not loan them unless I knew who it was. Do get a contract, and make sure they have insurance.

 

Selfish would be if you had no interest in the instruments but just didn't want anyone else to have them. That would be selfish. You are thinking of your own family. That is ok to do.

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I asked Dh what he thought, and he said he would support me in anything I chose to do so long as I go into it willing to never see them again.

 

I asked me two oldest children, and they said, "Ummm...no. Bad idea." apparently generosity is not their strong suit either.

 

I'll talk to my sister today, and update Y'all about what she says.

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I guess that we really do not want to let them go. We want to keep them.

 

We could have sold them when my dad died, but my husband wanted them for our family, and our children.

 

We don't want to sell them.

 

I don't even want to loan them out, but I will let my sister and husband have a vote on what to do.

 

I feel like a very selfish person right now, and that is a little new for me.

 

 

 

Do these instruments have a 'shelf life'? As long as they are cared for properly (I assume you are) I assume they will be good for many, many years. People playing them, dropping them, banging on them will damage them, but not if they are stored properly and maintained. Why do you have to let someone use them right now, to honor you fathers wishes? Did he say that giving them away had to happen right away?

 

 

I do not see why you have to rush to make this decision. Yes, your father wanted them used, but if he felt like they needed to be donated immediately to an orchestra, he would have done this or told you sister to do it. It has been 2 years since his death, but I doubt your father would be pushing you to make this decision if he was alive and could see the emotional attachment you have to them.

 

Also, don't forget, he was holding onto them also! If you feel your children will possibly want to play them, I would hold on to them for a couple more years. At that time you can make the decision on what to do, instrument by instrument. Deciding which to let go of and which you want to hold on to.

 

I am concerned that they are being loaned to people that you do not know, but you are expecting them to come back. I feel like this is a heartache waiting to happen for you. What if it is stolen or damaged accidentally, how are you going to feel about that? Willyou be able to get over it? If you are still in a place emotionally that you are soooo very reluctantly letting the instruments go, I worry about the emotional ramifications if they don't come back (or come back in poor condition). Even if you have a contract, with the person agreeing to bring them back.....what are you going to do if they do not?

 

 

If it were me in this position, I would wait until you were ready to donate the instruments to various people/organizations. That way you are completely letting go, one by one. You aren't expecting them back and you are allowing time for healing in the process.

 

Just like with your books, when you loan something, you have to accept that the item may not come back....if you are not at the place that you can do this, then it isn't the time to loan them.

 

 

 

 

 

I am sorry you still hurt for you father so much, I lost mine 10 years ago and still miss him too.

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I asked Dh what he thought, and he said he would support me in anything I chose to do so long as I go into it willing to never see them again.

 

I asked me two oldest children, and they said, "Ummm...no. Bad idea." apparently generosity is not their strong suit either.

 

I'll talk to my sister today, and update Y'all about what she says.

 

 

I don't think you should even talk to your sister about it. It might just bring up the "we should sell the instruments" conversation again.

 

The fact is, you're not ready to let the instruments go right now --or maybe ever -- and if you give them away or loan them out, you will regret it.

 

I would keep the instruments and gift them to your own children as a special way to remember their grandfather. The instruments were important to him, and they will always be special memories for you and your kids.

 

Why give them to strangers when your own children can keep them for the rest of their lives as family heirlooms?

 

So don't talk to your sister about it, and if you can't tell the woman no, have your dh do it for you. Period. Done. No more worrying about it.

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

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You really don't sound ready to let go of the instruments. I would suggest you don't loan them out, because it will bother you and you'll wonder and stew about them. I didn't lend out baby clothes I expected to be in nice shape when I got them back. :) Some were, some weren't. I kept the ones I couldn't part with for the time.

 

In the long run, I do think it would probably do your soul good to give away or sell some of the instruments. I don't really have a grasp on how many you have. Possibly donating one or two to the orchestra that meant a lot to your dad could be a good use. But for now, you don't sound ready to do that with an open heart. And that is okay. It will come.

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I asked Dh what he thought, and he said he would support me in anything I chose to do so long as I go into it willing to never see them again.

 

I asked me two oldest children, and they said, "Ummm...no. Bad idea." apparently generosity is not their strong suit either.

 

I'll talk to my sister today, and update Y'all about what she says.

 

How many instruments did your dad leave and how many have the orchestra requested?

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I wouldn't even guess how many he left. We gave many away. Anyone in the orchestra who had a loaner that belongd to my dad was given the one they were borrowing.

 

We kept very personal and rare ones. We still have quite a few. My son can play all of them. So can my sister. She could give lessons to the younger kids if they became interested.

 

I asked my sister about the request. She said if my heart said to hoard them, then there is a reason for it.

 

She said that the orchestra has other avenues to get instruments.

 

I just got a very sweet email request from the person who called yesterday. She said she would vouch for how responsible the new members are. But she would completely understand if I did not want to do it.

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Your sister is fine with you keeping the instruments.

 

The woman who wants them gave you a way to say no graciously.

 

So say no. The woman will absolutely understand why you're not ready to part with the instruments.

 

Your desire to hold on to the instruments is perfectly normal and entirely reasonable.

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:iagree:

Your sister is fine with you keeping the instruments.

 

The woman who wants them gave you a way to say no graciously.

 

So say no. The woman will absolutely understand why you're not ready to part with the instruments.

 

Your desire to hold on to the instruments is perfectly normal and entirely reasonable.

 

 

The teacher can vouch for the students all day long, but she can't control an outside theft or a purely unforeseen accidental damage...ie house fire, car accident etc.

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Your sister is fine with you keeping the instruments.

 

The woman who wants them gave you a way to say no graciously.

 

So say no. The woman will absolutely understand why you're not ready to part with the instruments.

 

Your desire to hold on to the instruments is perfectly normal and entirely reasonable.

 

:iagree:

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Sorry, I didn't read through the entire thread and just jumped in with my thoughts from the original post.

 

Do what you feel sits best with you and your family right now. Sounds like you have been doing through some rollercoaster stuff and just need some rest from it all. Take the instruments "off the market" of lending and see how you feel later.

Edited by wintermom
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I don't know what kind of orchestra you are working with but I am in an orchestra and we are always borrowing instruments from other orchestras, schools/universities, and private individuals. There is almost always a contract involved and often insurance. Knowing a member would be liable to pay for replacement should be motivation enough to make sure they return an instrument in the same condition in which it was borrowed. In the 20+ years I have played in various orchestras, I have not heard of any damage or theft. In fact, I have been borrowing an instrument for 10 years now. It gets "checked in" once a year so it can be assessed for damage and/or needed maintenance and I renew my contract. It is insured by the orchestra and I am also personally on the hook for wear-and-tear and theft from my personal car/house.

 

I can totally sympathize with how you feel. And I think you should keep them if that is truly what you want to do. But an unplayed instrument is not a "happy" instrument. Any instrument involving wood must be played regularly or it loses it's tone. So if you can bring yourself to fulfill your father's request, I would work up a solid contract and lend them out. Or get your kids playing them! Win win:)

Edited by skimomma
I killed a kitten!
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I think your dad likely wanted them PLAYED (eventually). I agree that it need not be right now. If you have them stored properly, a few more years of "sitting" is unlikely to harm them. (Some instruments do need/benefit from playing.) Maybe you all need more time.

 

If you sell them, I think you'd have a moral obligation to divide the $$ among the heirs (sister, presumably) unless the $$ value of them has already been considered when dividing his estate.

 

I think it would be fine to wait a few more years and revisit it when you know whether or not your kids or anyone else in your family will ever play them. Then, if it looks unlikely, go ahead and let them go.

 

If you decide to let them go, it sounds like your dad would have been OK with you selling them. So, you could offer them for SALE (or even rent) to whoever it is wants them. I don't think you are obligated to give them away to anyone unless your dad really specified that.

 

People value things they pay for. I don't think you should give them away (to a stranger). A musician who will really play the instrument will value it enough to pay a fair market price. I'd only give them away if you loved the person you were giving it to (or your dad did). In any event, if you give them away, by all means make sure it is to a non-profit and get your tax deduction! (Or, give it to a relative to do the same if you would not benefit from the deduction!)

 

You can also let ONE go, and see how that feels before deciding whether to let additional instruments go.

 

(((hugs))) I lost my dad in 2000, and I still miss him badly. I get it.

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I wrote her back and told her that while I know what my dad would want me to do, I'm not ready to let go of any more tiny pieces of him.

 

Thanks, guys for the help.

 

We will have to play some music in my dad's honor when my sister gets here tomorrow.

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I wrote her back and told her that while I know what my dad would want me to do, I'm not ready to let go of any more tiny pieces of him.

 

Thanks, guys for the help.

 

We will have to play some music in my dad's honor when my sister gets here tomorrow.

 

Good for you, Amy. I truly believe you're doing the right thing. :grouphug:

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If we sold them, which we do not want to do, I would absolutely split the money with my sister.

 

She was getting them appraised to sell, and split the money with me, when my Dh offered to pay her half of the appraisal so that our children and future grandchildren could have them.

 

My sister immediately said that she wanted Dh to have anything he wants without paying her half. We tried to return the favor by giving her things she could use like our dad's car without paying us half of the value.

 

We may just need more time, or we may just hold on to them, I'm not sure.

 

Also, my dad gave us each special things of his, and my sister said that he probably had NO IDEA that my husband would ever want his insruments. She thinks he said the sell or give them away because he did not know we would want them for the children.

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Amy, I can feel how much you are aching over this. Music is a major part of who my father is. After he passes I know I would not be able to sell his prize Martin guitar or the fancy banjo he had designed just for him or the mandolin. I'll never learn to play them, but even if they were just hanging on the wall as they do at his home now, they would always remind me of him. I'm pretty sure my sisters would feel the same way. I hope you can find some peace about this!

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I wanted to update and say that I got the nicest reply.

 

She said that she did not blame me at all for wanting to keep them and that in all of her memories of my dad, he is holding an instrument.

 

She also said that she and her daughter attended a balalaika convention this summer. There were so many teenagers there learning to play, and all of them were carrying the "little yellow book" that my dad wrote.

 

I really appreciate everyone's insight and support. I'm sure lucky to have this place.

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I'd say keep the instruments. But if possible make a donation to the orchestra that can be used to help musicians purchase instruments. If you set up like an endowment fund with the orchestra, then you can have people donate in memory of your dad. They could use the income from the fund to give away to musicians who need help. Just an idea. If you receive royalties from the sale of your dad's book, that would be a great use of the funds. Anyway it would honor his desire to help people, but keep the instruments in the family.

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She also said that she and her daughter attended a balalaika convention this summer. There were so many teenagers there learning to play, and all of them were carrying the "little yellow book" that my dad wrote.

 

That must've touched you deeply.

 

I think you made the right decision. I may go as far to say that objects, no matter how old or imperfect they are, which fill you with a sort of longing are the only ones worth really keeping.

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