This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The joy of collecting matchbooks

By now you can tell I'm a collector. I like more than one thing in a series, and I prefer things grouped. I'm also a fan of symmetry, but that's probably something for another post, another time. For now, let's talk matchbooks, matchboxes, matchbook covers. There's a name for what I do. It's called phillumeny, and there's even an organization devoted to the hobby. But I'm not that serious about it and do not consider myself a phillumenist. I simply collect matchbooks for one reason: because I can.

But not for long, or at least not for much longer. Maybe. Laws against smoking inside buildings has deterred my hobby. Companies are not as swift to order the matchbooks for their marketing efforts any longer. But when I first started sneaking them as a young child (12 maybe?), I could always find matches or matchbooks in restaurants, hotels, resorts, and gas stations. I'd make it a point to look for them. 

And I'm enough of a fan of matchbooks that I was one of those women who ordered matchbooks for my wedding, the kind with the names of the bride and groom printed on them, along with the date. Of course, that marriage ended, and I think I allowed myself to toss the extras I'd been saving for who knows what purpose soon after. But I did keep a few of them, just for posterity's sake. They're still part of my collection.

For the longest time, I've stored them in jars and open-faced boxes on my bookshelves. The ones I might use to light a candle or the fireplace I've kept in a bronze bowl in the living room. I also framed a whole collection. But last week I bought a glass vase, two glass vases actually. They stand about two feet tall. I've wanted to do this for quite some time but didn't think I should pay too much for the glass. I finally relented when I found the item I was searching for and thinking about for years at Fry's. So I've started to dump my collection in these vases, these jars. They will allow me to more easily pull my collection out if I care to take a look and reminisce about a place I've been. And I can more easily share the collection this way as well.

These matchbooks represent special dinners I've had, fun dates, girlfriend getaways, and overnight stays. They represent good times, quarrels and lovely feasts. They represent birthdays, anniversaries, time with my kids, vacations. They also represent places I've been and places that have long since closed.

I also found a bottle of wine by the name of Matchbook. I have no idea how good it will taste, but I liked the name and bought it. It made me happy to think of the idea there's a bottle of wine or a company that still celebrates the matchbook as much I do. It's another example of how you can glean pleasure from the simple things in life. After all, matchbooks don't cost anything. They're just there for the taking. And so I have. I've taken hundreds of them. Each one represents a moment to remember.

Do you have a collection of memories like this?


Jan said...

Oh, my, Jackie,
My hubby has done this. I'll share your post with him. Your post made me smile.

BIKE LADY said...

Hi Jan,

Is he serious about it? That club I mentioned hosts meetings and conventions. Some day, maybe I'll attend, just for the fun of it. I'm glad this post made you smile. It's not really hard to come up with things that bring you joy. There are so many!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. Love the piece about your wedding matches and deciding to finally toss them after holding onto them. And a framed collection of matchbooks sounds cool, too! I am pondering if I have a similar type collection. Maybe my books? I'm not sure. I have to think on this...which is probably a sign that I don't have one! I'm glad you get yours out and look at them. That's one thing that I have issue about with collections -- the fact that they get dusty and fill up space and people never use/enjoy them.

BIKE LADY said...

Motherlogue, I collect books, too. And I haven't talked about my nutcrackers yet. Oh, the collections. I do store them in places where they can be seen and discussed and touched. The matchbooks are fun because they are all different sizes, the matches different colors, the designs unique. It's just fun to collect things. Another thing I enjoy.

Lisa said...

Hi, Jackie. I've not visit your blog before. It's very good and it's nice to see your smiling face.

I also like symmetry and order and groupings - maybe it's a writer thing?

BIKE LADY said...

Lisa, I hadn't been to yours before, either. With so many blogs, it's no wonder, right? Yours looks interesting. I'll be back.

Alexandra said...

My son used to collect match books ... Right now I'm collecting rejections for my manuscript. The latest was because it had been shopped around, and although I changed the focus, that was enough to deter this agent ....

BIKE LADY said...

Collecting rejections, Alexandra? No fun. Sorry about your latest. Keep sending it out. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. It could help.

Anjuli said...

I love how you love to collect things- you and my son would get along great! :)...he especially loves to collect key chains- from all his travels, from places of interests...just unique key chains- like with a tiny stuffed animal or funny thing on the end...His key chain collection is MASSIVE.

I'm going to link him to this collection of yours- I'm sure he will be envious! :)

BIKE LADY said...

Anjuli, that's funny. I don't think I'm obsessive about it, but when I see things I like, I get them -- if not too expensive. As you can imagine I also collect bike imagery. I ride a bike, of course, but I also like to collect bike imagery (buttons, greeting cards, clocks, pins, journals, just anything with the picture of a bike on it). When I was a little girl, I collected old keys. I still have those boxed up somewhere. Maybe this is borderline obsessive. ;-)

Melissa Oakes said...

I had no idea there was a name for that. The words looks/sounds funny, so I bet its a wonderful conversation starter and a head turner. Great post.

Julie said...

What a fun collection! When I was a kid, I would collect postcards from every place we went on vacation, but that's about it.

Jeffrey Williams said...

Hi Jan,

I just came across your blog and the joy of collecting matchbooks. To help those of us that still collect them, I keep a website going called which lists places around the world that might still have matchbooks or matchboxes with their names.

Glad to see there are others who enjoy picking up a souvenir matchbook.

Jeff Williams

Jeffrey Williams said...


Now I feel dumb. I went back to the original page and saw your name. I called you Jan in my comment and that is the name of the commenter to the left of this box.

Sorry. I hate to get someone's name wrong.

Jeff Williams

BIKE LADY said...

Jeffrey, no worries. I'll check out your blog. Thanks for visiting.

Tandberg said...

Hello Jackie,
I´m from Denmark in Europe and I have been collecting matchbox-related items since the mid-60s. I have about 100,000 items from all over the world.
Please take a look at my Website:

Happy collecting