- The Thumbnail Traveler
- Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
The Fall Collection
"Each kid has a special box with different mementos. It's easy to prioritize when you're packing your life."
- Brent Engelland
Mementos are an important thing to many if not most people. Few of us can simply walk away from everything, and by the time we reach middle age -- not that I admit such a thing -- our homes can become a literal pile of bygone memories. The stub of a concert ticket from a favored group in college. A baseball from your title-winning Little League team. A plastic Mickey Mouse from that first trip to Walt Disney World with your kids (who are now collecting things like their lapel flowers from their own High School prom).
For the most part, we all collect.
My wife collects watches. A friend of ours collects things with seahorses. My buddy Harlan has a well-known agglomeration of books as well as shelf-straining collectibles related to fantastic fiction and cartoons and comic books and old-times radio programs.
I collect glass art and, in an inter-related way, shot glasses based upon my travels in this world. At current count I am somewhere around 160 of the things. The shot glasses, not the art glass.
In my twenties, when I started this particular collection, my first subjects were coffee mugs. New York, Washington DC, San Diego, etc. I had twenty by the time I realized that -- strictly from a logistics standpoint -- maybe collecting coffee mugs wasn't the way to go.
Which brings us to the second point: when you start a collection -- (and let's be honest, few collections "start". Most of them simply happen. You pick up an item or two. Then three. By the time you realize it's a collection it's already too late.) -- few of us consider the long term. How do you display it? DO you display it.
Do you even admit to having the bloody thing in polite company?
But whatever it is, and however you choose to share it, the collection isn't for other people, it's for us. Ourselves. Our memories.
Collecting things is human nature. And it's the nature of the things we collect that tells us just a bit about ourselves.
The mementos of a lifetime.