Monday, September 22, 2014

Map Nostalgia

When my daughter Kari visited us last summer she got me hooked on working a daily jigsaw puzzle. I had already been doing a daily crossword puzzle thanks to my younger brother Les; adding a jigsaw puzzle to the morning routine seemed a natural extension. Besides, I have always loved working jigsaw puzzles. I just don't like them taking up space on the dining table until I get that last piece put in. Doing them on the computer is so much faster. I can do several a day if I want.
This map of France was one of the puzzles online this morning. It wasn't the puzzle of the day, - that one was a cartoon-like "Eat Healthy" puzzle. So I chose to work this one instead.

As soon as I saw it I had a visceral reaction - the colors, the print fonts, the little depictions of various cities. Once I got the puzzle completed I tried to figure out why it spoke to me so. Then I saw the photo credit: American Geographical Society, Around the World Program. And when I googled that all these vintage booklets showed up on ebay and amazon - even on etsy. "Ah-ha!", I thought. "We must have had these in grade school." However, the "exciting new way to become acquainted with the many lands and peoples of our wonderful world" didn't become a reality until February, 1957. So my nostalgic feelings didn't come from my grade school years - I graduated from 8th grade in May of '57.

Those sentimental yearnings upon seeing the map of France puzzle could have been related to the hundreds of times I put together a similar United States puzzle when I was young. I remember Grandma & Grandpa Ridnour having this puzzle which is where I began learning my states and capitals before we had our own puzzle just like it. Perhaps that early introduction to maps accounts for my love of them.

Neither of our vehicles is equipped with a GPS navigational system. Even if they were, I would not rely on them. When I travel I use an official state highway map - the paper kind. We also travel with a current Atlas just in case a state map isn't available - or if we want to see the big picture.
Not only do maps show the highways, they provide a multitude of other information - mileage charts, state parks and attractions, emergency phone numbers, locations of welcome centers and insets of larger cities - to name a few.

They even become memorabilia. This map of Kentucky is from our first 'big' vacation - back when the only way we could afford to travel was to tent camp. And even though we have newer maps obtained on later trips to or through Kentucky (including this past spring), this map brings back some wonderful memories.

Almost always, upon entering a different state, our first stop will be at a welcome center. Even if we have a map of that state in the car, we will get a new one. In a couple of days we will be leaving on another cross country road trip to Oregon to see Kari and Ken. We'll be there in time to help celebrate their new home at their open house. Along the way I'll feed my esurient passion for maps.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I come by it honestly, then, as I also love maps, globes, atlases (atli?), et cetera. So excited to see you at the end of the week!