When I was a young boy taking annual summer trips across the country with my family, much to my parent's chagrin travel brochures became my souvenir of choice. (Yes, I was an odd little boy.) I would collect them by the hundreds. They were so colorful, filled with exciting pictures of places to go, things to see! The meteor crater in Arizona; Jamestown Virginia; Cars buried front end down in the earth for miles to see in Texas; the Grand Canyon; Mount Rushmore; Wall Drug, South Dakota; the most crooked street on earth in San Francisco; Reptile Land; Mount Vernon; Pedro's South of the Border; and The Empire State Building. I could go on and on and on.
But why this fascination which borderlines obsession? I think it goes back to our summer trips where we would drive thousands of miles across our great country, stopping at various touristy sites, staying at motels along with way, sometimes carefully planned out, other times the luck of the draw. Our trips during the late 70's early 80's included mandatory stops (insisted upon by us kids) at the venerable Stuckey's roadside convenience stores.
|Crazy About Brochures!|
Adam, Sheryl, and I would see an advertisement for a Stuckey's at the next exit whether it be in the Midwest, Texas, or Florida and scream "STUCKEY's!" eliciting a strong rebuke from my mother to "Keep it down back there! Your father's driving!" He would end up stopping after our pleadings. Mom would more than not have to use the bathroom anyway and it gave us a chance to explore and look at all the touristy 'chotchkes' the store had to offer.
After much begging, our parents might buy us a postcard or two: a picture of a rattlesnake or a jack-elope; the oldest house in Sante Fe, New Mexico; the St, Louis Gateway Arch; Dodge City, Kansas; or possibly the Alamo. It was rare they succumbed to our pleadings for any other souvenirs. We actually (smartly) held out for the souvenirs when we hit the big ticket tourist attractions like Mount Rushmore, Walt Disney World, South of the Border, or Cripple Creek, Colorado which might include a small toy Pluto dog, a clay miniature Pedro, or a piece of fool's gold from Cripple Creek.
But then my eyes spied a rack of colorful brochures right by the front door of Stuckey's. Each of them telling about some exciting place that I could go to. And the best part about it, the brochures were free! I took one or two of them, then three or four, and then started taking 10 or more at a stop!
We'd hit places where I could collect even more brochures: visitor centers, museums where racks of brochures would be by the front door or gift shop, airports, train stations, and more Stuckey's than you could count on your hand! I could get 10 free brochures to every purchased postcard! When I got home, I'd glue the postcards AND brochures in a scrapbook. OK, maybe I didn't see the Largest Ball of Twine in Minnesota or Gator Land in Florida ... but I could have!
I still have a habit of taking too many brochures as an adult. It's think its a comfort thing for me. I enjoy it. It reminds me of fond childhood memories and I just see a destination I want to go to and I take the brochure. I'll read one or two before bed time. They are perfect for that 5-10 minutes before you fall asleep. Who needs a novel with long ass chapters? Give me a 4 page brochure and I'll knock that puppy out in no time and then be fast off to sleep! Maybe I'll even dream of that destination if I'm lucky. 😊
|Maryland Visitor Center|
My sister Sheryl teases me about it. It's OK, I can take it, I'm a big kid now. Sheryl and I traveled down to Washington, DC a couple weekends back and hit up the Maryland Visitor Center. True to my nature, I picked up about 30 brochures on various destinations in or about Maryland such as the Newseum, the Maryland Civil War Trails, Monocacy, Colonial Chesapeake, Sotterly Plantation, the National Archives of the United States, Rivensdale House Museum, and ... of course ironically I found the "Visit South Jersey Visitor's Guide."
You can take the kid out of South Jersey, but you can't take the South Jersey out of the kid. This South Jersey kid is still obsessed with brochures. :)