Remembering the places we’ve been

When we moved into our house many years ago, there were some corkboard squares on the wall in a corner of the basement. They seemed to be crying out for something to cover them up, and so I put up a world map on the left side, and a United States map on the right. And that was just the beginning of the decoration.

Our family travels have taken us far and wide over the years: Arizona, Virginia, South Dakota, New York City, and on and on. And whenever we’re on a trip, I like to pick up postcards from a gift shop at least once. But I don’t really send them to anyone. Instead, I take them home as souvenirs, and tack them up on the maps that are down in our basement. They’ve become something of a dynamic scrapbook, reminding anyone who should happen to come by of the places we’ve been over the years.

Before these postcards get tacked up in the basement, there’s one thing that must be done first. One of my daughters has to write “I love you Daddy” and sign their name, along with the year that we visited the place on the postcard. This serves two purposes: it allows my daughters to personalize the postcard themselves, and it clears up any future confusion about when the trip was made. I’d rather head off any controversy in advance.

One day these postcards will probably make me very sad, when I think about how young they once were. But doing this now, in the moment, is very important to me. Simply put, I won’t be able to recreate these after the fact, so it’s best to do this while I can still get them to fill the postcards out for me.

Our most recent trip was two wonderful summer weeks on Cape Cod. The extra week allowed us to do things we might not otherwise consider, such as taking the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. We rented convertibles and spent the day seeing the sights from a more interesting perspective than a tour bus would have afforded.

Cape Cod postcards are nothing new anymore, since we’ve gone there a few times previously, so I decided a postcard from the island would work instead. I scanned it after we returned home, and it appears at the top of  this post. My younger daughter has signed it and added the date, as requested.

With the formalities now out of the way, the card will be in the basement from later this evening, until a day hopefully far off in the future.  It will be an ongoing reminder of the island and the convertibles and the fun that we have together as a family. And there’s no better way of decorating some space in the basement.

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