Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Joy of Free Stuff

I used to collect travel brochures... and menus from restaurants, and printed napkins, and matchbooks, and comment cards, and table tents, and maps, and anything else that was free and made of paper that I found while traveling. I have recently finished going through all the 12 or so shoeboxes full of this stuff - just finished tonight, in fact! I wonder if anyone will want it if I post it on Freecycle?

Whaddaya have, whaddaya have?
(okay, so maybe only Atlantans will get this...)

Collecting this free junk brought me so much simple joy. I don't know why... maybe because I was a teenager then, and teens do weird and random things? But as I am now thirty years old, I figured I should part with most of it and only keep what was potentially useful (like for future homeschooling projects) or what was of sentimental value (like brochures from places I have visited). I put the extra Varsity hat in the girls' dress-up clothes, and I tossed the duplicate cups (yes, I had duplicates! A matched set of four Days Inn cups, each individually wrapped!) and the ones with no sentimental value on the floor. The girls picked them up and began an imaginative game.

Yeah, there were straws and plastic spoons in there, too... you may have noticed the trademark Baskin-Robins pink on the spoon sticking out from behind Cecilia. Caroline has some random slushie cup, and Cecilia is holding a Flying J cup (my favorite truck stop... for some reason I can't quite remember). I think they were pretending to eat ice cream... at least, Caroline was, and so Cecilia was imitating her.

Ahh, all my free travel junk - which I am sure my mother rolled her eyes about 15 years ago, but I thank her for not stifling my innocent, cheap "hobby" - and for a brief time, it brought joy to my girls as well.

I am keeping some of the cups, menus, and hotel stuff... it could be fun down the road for some imaginative games of restaurant and hotel!


mel said...

Hey, at least you took disposable stuff! My mom used to take actual silverware when she was a teenager. I've got some that she gave me in a box of momentos, these forks labeled with the place they came from, hehe.

Erin said...

That actually sounds like something I would have done... I did take a few real menus (not just the paper ones), and table tents that were supposed to be permanent on the tables, in hard plastic stands... and I think I wrote a whole post on my other blog about stealing streetsigns as a teenager... Your mom would have been my best friend in high school, lol!

Carrie said...

Did you post anything on freecycle?!?! I love to collect travel brochures! still! I always have a ton to get rid of after a long road trip!

Erin said...

Ah, see? More kindred spirits!!

Yes, i posted the travel brochures on freecycle, and TWO people wanted them!! The second was a middle schooler, don't know why he wanted them... project? The first one, who I gave them to, was a lady who said she would use them in her artwork and pass them on to "artist friends." So, if you see a brochure for the Admiral Benbow Inn, Dollywood, KOA, or the Pendergrass Flea Market in some local folk art, you know where it came from! ;)