Our heirlooms tell a story about our culture, our family dynamic and our fundamental natures. You aren't what you inherit, but you may inherit a lot of what you are -- and that can be reflected in the types of things your family hands down from one generation to the next.
The dad with the PEZ collection may have raised sons with a similar appreciation for the lighter side of life. If he was, say, a policeman, his sons could be interested in police work, too, and like Dad's gun collection even more than his candy caddies. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and when you're thinking about the symbols of your family's past, you may identify with and value the things that you grew up seeing and doing.
Is it nature or nurture that makes you love cooking Grandma's Cajun recipes? Who knows? Come Mardi Gras, though, she always makes sure you're elbow-deep in jambalaya. If Grandma offers you her favorite cast-iron skillet to remember her by, it may not be made of silver, but chances are it'll be precious metal to you.