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Collector’s Cabinet: Souvenirs
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Collector’s Cabinet: Souvenirs

Yesterday, while driving home with Kris in the nasty ice storm, I spotted a Quebec license plate on the Beltway, "Je me souviens"… "I remember". The glimpse of that little license plate inspired a "blog entry in my head" (that happens to you too, right?) and sent me on a hunt around my house for some of the great souvenirs that I have collected, or that friends and family have given to me over the years.

I am completely fascinated by the way that objects, no matter how small, inexpensive, or seemingly insignificant, can elicit strong emotions and powerful memories, whether they remind the collector of a person, a location, or of a particular time in their life.

My souvenirs take many forms, as you will see… I followed no particular chronology or order, just so you know (…and I call myself an archivist!)

Personal Souvenirs

New Orleans, 2004

Two guesses where this is from ;) Florida, 2002


A few items from my summer in Israel, 2000. Up top, I have 170 sheqalim. (According the currency converter, that is $37!) I love the colors of Israeli money: pinks, blues, greens, purples, and gold inlays. And what in the world are those below? These are some of my coolest and oldest souvenirs: amphora jar handles dating from the 9th and 10th century BCE! Yes, that is approximately 3000 years old! These jar handles were uncovered at the excavation I worked on at Tel Beth Shemesh. These, and many other pottery sherd are thrown into huge garbage heaps – unless there is something really special about them (like a stamp, etc) but these, well, they are considered "trash". Not to me! (Just so you know – they let us take them. I am not an antiquities thief!)

Magnet assortment: from our trips to Portland, Oregon, 2003; Hawaii in 2005, Heather’s trip to Cancun 2005, another Hawaii magnet, and our Boston, Massachusettes trip of 2002.

Ukulele, baby! Hawaii 2005

Who can forget souvenir YARNS? Katia Dolby from Hawaii, and Zitron Unikat from Bethany Beach, Delaware. Souvenir yarns are one of my favorite parts of going on trips!

Wanna see some other Lolly souvenirs?

Of course souvenirs can also be amazing gifts after friends and family go on fabulous vacations and business trips…

There is a popular American t-shirt (and I am sure it is sold in other countries as well), and it says:

"My [insert relative here] went to [insert vacation location here] and all I got was this [insert expletive here] t-shirt!"

Unfortunately, I have not received any t-shirts like this, but I do have some other amazing goodies from friends and family!

Souvenir Gifts

My advisor in college, Dr. K, took a sabbatical in Greece and Crete one semester; when she returned, she brought back this replica of the Phaistos Disc for me. The Phaistos Disc was one of the most substanital archaeological finds of the twentieth century.

My parents brought back this really cool wire / stain glass fish after their 2003 vacation in Maine.

In recent years, my dad has been on business trips to nearly every South American country and a few Caribbean ones too. He is a geologist, and a father of three girls, so he has a great eye for unique jewelry! The lapis lazuli and gold necklace is from Chile, the amber necklace is from the Dominican Republic, and the other lovely lapis pendant is from … oops, can’t remember… maybe Chile too? (Dad: do you remember?) The coin necklace is a big favorite of mine: it is a replica coin, which may be the currencies used by the Sephardic Jews of Venezuela in the seventeenth century (it is hard to make out in the picture, but it says 1686, has a large Star of David, and includes some Arabic script which is hard to make out). Gosh, I love this thing. Definitely a conversation piece! Another favorite pendant is this Labradorite one.


My sister, Mimi, spent two summers in Azerbaijan in 2003 and 2004. Not only did she bring back some wonderful stories, but she brought me some handpainted Russian nesting dolls. Azerbaijan was part of the USSR, and Russian is still spoken, along with the native Azeri language in the country. The watercolor painting above shows another great cultural influence in Azerbaijan: Iranian culture and food. See the pomegranates? You know Lolly loves those! Also from Mimi: a mosaic box with seashells from the Caspian, and an amazing handmade bracelet.


Now its your turn! Show me your souvenirs and tell why they are special to you!

I would love to hear your stories and see your treasures! These "Collector’s Cabinet" posts are so fun for me to put together, and I so enjoy when you show me a little bit of your collection too, so if you do share, drop me an email, or leave a comment so I can see yours too! I am hoping to do it once a month, if I can find that many collections!

Knitting progress reports, and those promised Socktoberfest updates after the weekend. I promise for real this time!

PS-Check out my girl, Heather, and her new knit!

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27 Responses

  1. Jenna

    Wow, you have a lot of cool jewelry :) You’re right that objects to tend to remind us of places we’ve been or even places and times in our lives that were more part of the day to day. Something tangible can bring back all of those memories. I know this personally because I really tend to hoard stuff and have trouble getting rid of things like notes that have sentimental value. Thanks for this little tour of your memories :)

  2. clarelight

    I recognize that Portland, OR postcard! I live here in the City of coffee-drinking, micro-brew swilling roses. Somehow, the post card looks so much prettier in a picture with other souveniers…

  3. heather

    I love these rememberances…very very cool! from now on I’ll remember to ass to your archive!

    So happy to see these kinds of posts, I love reading about you!!

    Just when I think I’ve gotten there…I come to another layer…awesome

    x/o see u tomorrow!!!

  4. Amanda

    How fun your travels look. My husband and I have done a ton of traveling I will have to see what I can find to post about. :)

    Amanda

  5. Dani

    What beautiful souvenirs! I am jealous at all those pretty things :) Of course, the yarn is nice too :) You look so happy in your beret. what a fun knit! Lots of hugs—

  6. puppymomma

    Funny, every time I see that license plate I just want to shout at them, What the hell is it that you remember anyway!?!

  7. chris

    You consistently have the most interesting and fascinating posts, Lolly! I LOVE your souvenir collection, and more importantly, the stories behind each one. Those amphora jar handles are AMAZING. What an absolute treasure! It’s so funny; I guess in a country replete with so much history and so many artifacts, they have to make a distinction between items that are “noteworthy” and “trash.” I’d definitely treasure them, too, and even moreso because they were part of an excavation you participated in. I cracked up at how you converted sheqalim to “skeins of yarn.” Didn’t notice that currency conversion at the bank today. ;-) Your Russian dolls are beautiful!! One day, I’d love to hear more about your family’s travels- you have all been to some fascinating regions. And hey, that Katia looks familiar! ;-) LOVED this post, Lolly!! I’m sooo glad your semester’s finally over- take good care of yourself!! :-) Love ya, C.

  8. Jennifer

    How intriguing! I really learned a great deal about you from your collection post. You have some very fascinating items that are truly unique. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. megan

    What a fantastic idea Lolly! I think I’ll have to do a souvenir post of my own! I hope you have a great weekend!

  10. Elspeth

    You’re absolutely right about the pendant having Arabic on it. From what I could read, it’s May-iy-tt. I don’t (um) know what it means, but it’s still beautiful. What a lovely blog entry; I felt like I was traveling the world and not procrastinating my paper. Yay!

  11. LBD

    All of the lapis came from Chile. Neat pictures and great post.

  12. Karen

    What a fun post – you and your family have traveled to such great places!! I try to pick up a Christmas ornament on each trip (if I can), and then Pea and I can enjoy looking back on our trips each year as we trim the tree. I’ll snap some pictures to post today – we’re getting our tree this afternoon.

  13. Mandy

    Hi Lolly, thank you for your sweet comment on my blog this morning. I wanted to write you back but I can’t find your email address, and Blogger doesn’t send it to me. I am just commenting to say I hope you have a wnderful Christmas!! :)
    xoxox

  14. Stephanie

    I love all your souveniors. I have so many things from places we have visited but now I buy postcards and I take many photographs and immediately do a vacation or travel scrapbook with memorabilia and the photos and I can relive the trip over and over. I also started journaling on the computer while travelling – then I print out the journal and add that to the scrapbook. It gives me more detail then waiting until I actually scrapbook. Also, I now (in the past 3 years) buy yarn when I travel as well and make a shawl or something similar and that is my sourvenior from that locale.

  15. Amy

    Thank you for sharing your precious momentos with us. They are very special.

    Amy

  16. Moni

    That was awesome, lolly! I will have to put together a post for this weekend. I love collecting things from places I’ve been, too :)

  17. carrie m

    what a wonderful assortment! i’m partial to the ukelele and the nesting dolls — my mom lived in russia for a while so i grew up with many in our house. (we could look but not touch since they were fragile.) and i spied the pomegranate — i put one in my last post with you in mind!

  18. Kathy

    Unfortunately, I don’t even buy myself souvenirs from my travels – my house is already so full of stuff that I hate to add even one more small thing other than the occasional refrigerator magnet. I just have happy memories. Thanks for sharing yours!

  19. jill

    Lolly – what a great walk down memory lane! It is always amazing how something small can transport us back in time. It happens to me with smells… ..

    I hope you are having a great holiday season :) Take care, Jill

  20. dianne

    What a great idea to let us share your special memories with you through your souvenirs, thank you! I like how you included what you found in your travels, and what others found especially for you:).

  21. Mia

    Hi Lolly,
    Your a girl after my own hart.. the pottery shards are awesome! My best treasure (no pic right now) but it’s a little piece of rock that was on the ground by the Mayan temple we saw in the Yucatan.. it was almost a mystical experience when we were there.. and I get the same feeling whenever I look at that little piece of stone.

    Oh, and let me just say for the record… (I sure hope no one has already said it)

    But I predict YOU… Miss Lolly … to be next in the line of blog turned book writers.. have you already started one ?? *big grin*

    If not… I’d be looking into it if I were you!

    Great site!

  22. Erin

    I wish I had read your blog before I cleaned out my bookshelves this past weekend. I would have had some great things to post. Maybe I can still find some things… We’ll see if I have time. Great idea though!

  23. jess

    great post. I love bringing stuff to, and it is nice to look at all your haul…

  24. Catrin

    I´ve posted some souvenirs on my blog – but not from Rome..

  25. ck

    What cool stuff! I’m very fold of Labradorite too :) I’ll mentally file your idea for sharing souvenirs for a future post.

  26. Mona

    Liebe Lolly,

    I really like this post, I like your souvenirs and, on top of it, Quebec got an honourable mention. I tried to find some souvenirs of my own to give back the favour and found that my stuff sucks. I have nothing as cool as the thousands of years old shards or the jewellery – I think. Of course now I have to dig deeper into my closet, should I come up with anything interesting I will let you know!

    Alles Liebe und Frohes Fest,
    Mona

  27. MJ

    One of the best souvenirs I’ve ever had came from my recent Europe trip. While walking in the woods behind BF’s summer house, I saw a little pine cone drop from a tree. I have it now.

    I love the pottery shards. Wow!

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