In the United States, collecting souvenir spoons dates back to the mid-1800s (the first American souvenir spoons manufactured in the late 1800s were equipped with profiles of George Washington). Collecting spoons had become a pastime by the time the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was held, attracting 27 million visitors. I don’t know what the people who were collecting spoons 100 years ago were thinking, but I would like to imagine that even back then, it was a form of longed-for journey made through gifts from friends and family. Perhaps these armchair travelers are no different than a toddler at home waiting for a spoon to arrive, waiting for the world to unfold through the magic of finely etched silver or nickel. I felt, then and now, that these carefully decorated spoons exhibited a level of artistry that no other keepsake could match. Windsor He loved the corrugated rim of the spoon and the car on top of the Detroit car. Gifts He brought me joy in a way that a shirt from a shop or a vial filled with pink sand from a tropical beach could never have given me.
From 1988 to 1998, I flew between Boston’s Logan Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport every other week. In total, this equates to about 108,000 total miles flown, and I didn’t buy a single spoon from either airport. Instead, I have spoons from elsewhere while living away from either parent.
I recently found my collection of spoons right after moving house. They were still in the cabinet, but it was never quite right. I — we see these places together. After all, I was promised something in return.
My father retired at 54 with the intention of traveling the world. At age 55, he was diagnosed with his ALS. By age 57, he was dead. In the last few weeks of his life, I asked him to tell me about the places on his bucket list. Shortly after his death I booked a solo flight to Auckland — the destination he showed me on the computer was , after speech became impossible. I brought his ashes. I didn’t buy a spoon.