When I was growing up, my Dad would occasionally smoke a pipe. It usually happened when he was really beginning to relax–so my brother and I didn’t see him smoke it that often. When he did, though, he used tobacco that he got from a pipe shop downtown called Campbell’s Smoke Shop. I loved going in there with him and taking in the smell of all kinds of scented tobaccos! But there was also the slight aroma of wooden matches wafting through the air in that place. Put it all together and it made for a very fond memory.
That was the start of my matchbook collecting. Not your normal collecting of matchbook covers though; that never interested me. It’s always been full, complete and unused matchbooks that have been in my collection. So it progressed from a handful of matchbooks from Austin’s as a 12 year-old kid to matchbooks from other local businesses as I got older. Once into my high school years, I really started to get my hands on some matchbooks from other states, due to my parents having some friends who did a lot of traveling. And that got me thinking…
What would be a really unique way to collect these? And it came to me in a vision, an angel with a trumpet proclaiming from the mountaintops: “Thou shalt obtain from hither and yon a matchbook from every state in the United States of America!” What, you don’t think that happened? Ok. Not really. But that was the idea that came to mind. So I ran with it. And then forgot all about it once I reached my mid-twenties.
It re-sparked a few years ago, and I realized that I really needed to focus on getting this goal accomplished. Now, thanks to a variety of people who have traveled here and there–and especially to a few Facebook friends who also collect–it is complete!! Not only do I have at least one full, complete and unused matchbook from every state in the U.S., but I also have matchbooks from numerous countries as well as unique types of matchbooks from different places.
It has been a project-in-the-making for well over 30 years. Not to mention how much more difficult it has been to come by matchbooks since all of the changes regarding smoking in public places has taken place. But what a monumental achievement! To start with matches and memories from Campbell’s to displaying a prized collection of full and unused matchbooks from every state….God is good!