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?