Even in Paradise Synchronized Reading Post #1: Mementos

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature Nicole and I run together every few months.

Our current Synchronized Reading is Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot.

Charlotte, the narrator of Even in Paradise, spend a lot of the novel collecting mementos to mark important moments and things she wants to remember. All of her items go into a big toolbox that she calls her memory box.

When Nicole and I started thinking about something to talk about for our Sync Read of the book, we decided that it only made sense to mention mementos of our own.

Although I’m trying to get better about it, I save a lot of things. Sometimes things that I shouldn’t and sometimes things that are personally significant. I have a booklet I made to store tickets to movies, shows and concerts. I collect postcards.

I have a large box filled with cards I received over the years from my mom and various family members including aunts and uncles who have since died. These in particular have become very special to me in recent years as they are one of the few tangible memories I have for relatives I’ll never see again.

When I was younger I acquired quite a few seashells and precious stone nuggets during trips to South Street Seaport as well as sea glass from a beach trip. One of my prized possessions remains an actual mother of pearl shell that I found myself at the beach.

I also collect keychains and decks of playing cards from places I have been (and from places friends have been too!). Nicole gave me an “I *heart* Darcy” keychain from her trip to London and I haven’t taken it off my keys since. Another special one is a wooden kokeshi style doll from my mom that I’ve kept on my keys at all times since 2009.

The last thing I really actively try to save from special places is pressed pennies. Places like Disney World have lots of machines with different designs you can press into a penny as it flattens. Sometimes you’ll also come across them at random places–a souvenir shop in Times Square, a Rainforest Cafe in New Jersey, the Sanrio Store. This is the hardest memento to get because it requires forward planning in the form of a penny and some quarters on your person (pressed pennies usually cost fifty cents) but it’s also something I really enjoy saving. I have pennies from Disney World, Los Angeles, and some New York specific ones among others.

No matter what the item, I’m able to look at these things fondly–with a little bit of joy even–as I remember when I acquired them and what they meant to me.

What are some special mementos that you have saved over the years?