Get your Souvenirs!

Reflecting on past trips.

Have you ever received a present that takes your breath away?  I just recently had this experience.  A dear friend gave me an amazing Christmas gift, as an acknowledgment of this blog.  I am now the proud owner of a souvenir spoon.  Accompanying this spoon was this note of explanation. “This spoon was patented in 1891 and was the second souvenir spoon ever made in America.  Daniel Low designed it.  I hope you will enjoy it.” As you can see, my friend bequeathed me a spoon commemorating Nathaniel Hawthorne, based on my article about Salem, Massachusetts.  I will treasure this gift not only for how beautiful it is, but also for the friend who showed her support in such a unique and caring gesture. 

Once I started thinking about souvenirs it was like opening the floodgates.  It amazed me how many items in my home were tied to a trip. My father was in the U.S. Military Sealift Command and travelled extensively.  One of my favorite gifts he ever gave me is this medallion, from Egypt.  He knew I was crazy about all things Egyptian as a young person, and that I was very interested in archaeology too.  He was on the deck of his ship going through the Suez Canal and some enterprising salesman where plying their wares from their boats.  I have hung this medallion on the wall in every home and apartment since he gave it to me. 

Souvenirs are a way to remember the trips we have taken, or to share these experiences with others.  I have a fair number of t-shirts, tote bags and coffee mugs that represent past travels, and how many of us have spotted a Dan and Whit’s t-shirt well away from Norwich? I purchased this primitive painting the first time I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, to meet my newborn nephew.  Spanish Market is one of several big arts events in Santa Fe, with many exquisite objects to purchase.  Yet I was drawn to this simple painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe that was made by a young lady who was only eleven at the time.  Each time I notice it on my wall it brings me back to my first visit to this lovely city and the happiness we all shared as a new member of the family joined us.

This print proves I was even collecting souvenirs as a baby!  My parents met up with my grandfather shortly after I was born, to attend the Seattle World’s Fair.  My grandfather was an immigrant from Sweden and purchased this print from the Swedish pavilion for my nursery.  This is no doubt my oldest souvenir, and I treasure it. 

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Souvenirs don’t have to be purchased either.  We have rocks and shells from different places we have visited, some of which are on display in our water garden.  Look around your home, or your desk, or even your car in some cases, and you may find evidence of past trips that either you have taken or someone else has.  Need a quick pick-me up in the middle of the week?  Look at your souvenirs and remember the trip you took, or if it was a gift, dream about taking your own trip to Egypt.  As for the picture of the pitcher, I purchased it at Loretta Lynn's Kitchen over thirty years ago as I drove across country to settle in New England.


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