Yesterday I visited a matchbox museum in Taiwan. Matches are so insignificant that you probably forgot they ever existed. To me, they bring a lot of joy and wonderful memories through my collection of over 1000 boxes collected over the past couple of decades.
Matchboxes are a great story teller. They chart the restaurants where I’ve dined and wined, some more enjoyable than others; the hotels I’ve stayed at and all the wonderful places that I’ve visited over the years. Some were given to me by friends and family who have helped me build up my collection and that will always leave a mark in my life. In most cases I could pretty much remember exactly when and where I acquired the particular matchbox as they each lit up a little spark at that moment in time. I have also bought quite a lot of matchboxes from bric n brac shops and flea markets around the world, most which pre dates the start of my collection. The design and pictures on them reflect how culture is embedded in an everyday simply item. It shows how society has changed over the years such as a matchbox from BOAC which was British Airways before it was privatised by the British government in the early 70’s. It’s difficult to imagine a matchbox allowed on a plane today, let alone smoking.
Sadly when I moved to Taiwan rationality trumped sensitivity and I had to give my entire collection away. I was so afraid that I couldn’t let go of them that I didn’t even take many photos of them. The other month I came across of box of matchboxes in a bric n brac shop in Taiwan. My heart really ached when I saw it , and a pang of regret overtook me.
Matchboxes, how are you? I hope you are well. I really miss you.