1. Map of Great Falls Park
2. Magnet from Great Falls
3. Shalom Orchard Organic Ginger Mead
4. Poster of Bass Head Harbor Lighthouse
5. Card Catalog Wedding Place card
6. Lobster Printed Wet Wipes
7. PGT Beauregard Postcard
8. Map of Isle au Haut
9. Anchor Bookmark – Wedding Favor
10. “Chicken Flinger”
11. Great Smokey Mts Postcard
12. Signed Bottle of Black Dragon Moonshine
13. Athenaeum Guide
14. Cadillac Mountain Postcard
15. “Salamander Capitol of the World” Mug
16. Rocks Collected from Lake Lanier
17. Royksopp at Wolftrap Tickets
18. Pencil Swiped from The Dean Hotel
19. Rocks + Feather from Lake Lanier
20. Slap Ya Mama Seasoning
21. All Purpose Moon Shine
22. Bar Harbor Lobster Ornament
23. Jordan House Pond Magnet
24. Lobster Bib
25. Horseradish Hot Sauce
26. Chicken Flavored Corn Snack
27. Vintage Pyrex Bowl
28. Manasses Magnet
29. Best Hot Sauce Ever
30. Best BBQ Sauce Ever
31. Bar Harbor Lobster Magnet
32. Exposed Rolls of Film
33. Rocks from Lake Lanier
34. Mt. LeConte Llama Ornament
35. Harry Potter Stamps!
36. Dean Hotel Postcard
37, Great Smokey Mt Magnet
38. Cocoon Backpacking Pillow
39. Map of Acadia National Park
I am a memory hoarder. In addition to taking zillions of photos I also have a strong need to clutch onto every souvenir, scrap of ephemera, receipt, list, or memento as if doing so will somehow slow down time. As a kid I would fill boxes full of anything and everything I came into contact with and fill book after book with journal entries. Whenever we traveled anywhere with my family I would beg for any kind of souvenir – a tshirt, a button, a patch, a pencil — anything. Even things that were meant to be consumed, like a bottle of soda with a fancy label or a sack of candy that looked like rocks, or sent, like postcards or letters, would be preciously wrapped, sealed, and stored away to reminisce over at a later time.
Eventually I became tired of toting shit boxes around and, before moving into our new home, I finally sorted through box after box after box of collected crap limiting my memories to one medium sized bin. I won’t lie, the process of letting go was really hard, but also extremely liberating. One day I hope I can apply this mentality to everything else — life, my shoe ‘collection,’ lingering baggage, etc. Baby steps.
For now I approach souvenir collecting like a recovering addict: I only buy/save things that we need, are useful, can be consumed, or are tiny. Everything else is photographed then tossed or recycled. This does not mean that my hands won’t unconsciously stow away things like lobster bibs, pencils, and wet wipes, but knowing my hoarding tendencies I tend to avoid collecting anything except magnets, ornaments, and on rare occasion a tiny pig figurine (long story). My favorite souvenirs now are usually somewhat practical — like vintage cooking or housewares that we use on a daily basis or small posters to decorate our home whenever we finally decide to frame our prints…or for that matter, paint our walls… I also love finding unique jewelry when we travel or bringing back interesting foods or wines (and apparently moonshine) that we can share with friends and family or give as gifts. It’s a way of sharing the memory rather than keeping it boxed up under lock and key.
This summer’s souvenirs represent all the time spent with family — digging for rocks at Lake Lanier, coming up with silly games with my nieces and nephews, and lots of home cooked meals. We attended a wedding, took a New England road trip, explored tiny towns, ate lobster, and spent a lot of time outdoors gardening, hiking, camping, exploring farmer’s markets, grilling out, and sitting around a campfire.
Summer, you have been a good one.