Memory Keeping


“Scars are Souvenirs You Never Lose”

Ah, yes. Souvenirs. The picture above is of my favorite souvenirs from this past Summer, along with lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “Name” by the Goo Goo Dolls. If you’re like me, you’re hoping you don’t have too many scars, but you do have lots of souvenirs. And, you’re hoping they don’t get lost.

I see souvenirs as a lot like letters; portholes into the past. Souvenirs are pieces of history that we can hold – feel, touch, smell. And while they may not be “appreciated” by our children 50 years from now, they can certainly bring us joy any time we take them out. We don’t need to wait 50 years. Even now, only a few months after the concerts, seeing the tickets brings back all sorts of good memories. (Side note here. I think ALL concerts should provide physical tickets as an option when you purchase them. I know, having scannable tickets on your phone is so much “easier”, we always have our phones with us, physical tickets can get lost, blah blah blah. It really bums me out. We should all DEMAND physical tickets. Anyone else feel the same?)

Obviously, I have a lot of souvenirs. I wish I could say I have them all nicely tucked away in scrapbook albums, along with pictures, descriptions, funny captions, etc., etc., etc. Nope. But, I do have plans to organize them all. Lots of plans. . . However, a lot of my souvenirs are not the “easily organized and put into nice little books” type of souvenirs. Here are some examples:

SAND. I collect sand. Sorry, not sorry. I have been to some pretty amazing beaches and I think sand is a great souvenir to have from a beach. Whenever I go on a trip I always make sure I have a little bottle with me to collect some sand. (Okay. Not all the time. Hence the sand in the plastic water bottles.) My plan is to put the sand in a shadow box with a map of the beach, maybe a picture, and some other little “souveniry” thing I might have from the trip. Hey. I even have the shadow boxes. Somewhere.

PACKER TICKETS. I LOVE football. And, I LOVE the Green Bay Packers. I have been a fan forever. In fact, I’m even a part owner. (If you don’t know about Green Bay Packer ownership, look it up.) So, natch, I’m going to save my tickets. There’s nothing like a football game at Lambeau. (Sorry about the one from Soldier Field.) I don’t have a plan for these, other than to stick them on the magnetic board in my office. They bring me joy every day. I do have more tickets, somewhere.

COASTERS. I do have a small collection of coasters. I would have more, but have you noticed that most bars don’t have coasters anymore? Not fancy ones with their logo or some interesting design on them. They really should. Great advertising. And, let me tell you, these bring back a lot of memories. Like when we were at Tavern in the Sky with our kids (adult kids, obviously) the night before a Packer game, having old fashions on the balcony with the firepit blazing, snow lightly falling, and Lambeau Field in the background. Or, when we were at Port Townsend Brewing Company in Washington State with our kids and our future daughter-in-law a week before our son left for a 7-month deployment on an aircraft carrier. Or, the time my husband and I spent a fall night in a rustic cabin with the fire blazing in a stone fireplace at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. See, great advertising. And, great memories. My plan for these is to stick them on my board in my office, next to my Packer tickets. More joy every day.

CORKS. If you know me, you know I have corks. My husband and I have been saving corks for over 30 years, so yes, we probably have thousands. I won’t elaborate much on this, let’s just say we like wine, and most of our friends like wine, too. So, yes, many a bottle of wine has been uncorked in our home. We try to write on corks to commemorate special occasions, like a Thursday night. Some are more special than others, like “Baby Boy Johnson”, when we found out our son and his wife were having a boy, or “Noah’s First Visit”, when our daughter’s son came to see Grandma and Grandpa for the first time. Cork souvenirs are meant to be held, tossed around, batted around by the cat, thrown around by the grandsons. They are in their final resting spot, in various easily accessible containers throughout the house.

TRIP SOUVENIRS. I’m sure everyone has these, somewhere. I have a box or a folder dedicated to each trip we have taken, some with way more “paper stuff” than others. I pulled the above paper stuff out of our France box. And, yes, I do have sand and corks from France, lots of corks, not too much sand. (Actually, I have rocks from the beach in Cassis on the Mediterranean; no sand there). <Insert> short, interesting story here. My parents were fortunate to do some traveling. When going through boxes of stuff in their basement I discovered notes that my mom had made for a couple of trips they took, detailing where they were going to be when, what to do, mileage, etc. In fact, her notes looked a lot like this: These are my notes from our trip to France. Guess I inherited the trip-planning-gene. <Done> I would also like to put all of the “paper stuff” souvenirs in separate shadow boxes some day. I do not yet have the shadow boxes for this.

BEER CANS. Okay. I DO NOT collect beer cans. I wanted to, but my husband said no. But, seriously, if you take a look there are some pretty cool cans. I totally consider them artwork. But, no. I will keep the “Lake Beer” can though, because, hey, we live on a lake.

IN CONCLUSION. Of course I still feel writing letters is SO important. Writing a letter to someone will make a connection with them that social media or texting or an email never can. It’s a little piece of history, a snapshot of who you are at that moment in your life. But, souvenirs also serve a purpose, providing a snapshot of who you are, and WHERE you were. They can bring you joy over and over again. “We’ll have tiny boxes for memories, open them up and we’ll set them free”, from the Goo Goo Dolls “Boxes”. So, take those words literally and put your memories in tiny boxes.

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