Red Badge of Collecting

There aren't too many things I've collected consistently throughout my life: diary entries, postcards, half-informed opinions, books I think I'll read again, and patches. The patches must have been my father's idea, since the early patches are a geography of his business trips. It was my mother's idea to sew them onto my backpack in grade school, then later a denim jacket, and when room ran out there I collected them into a ziploc bag until a better idea crossed my mind.

I still look for a patch in the souvenir shops when I travel. A few of my favorites are the ones where I've added my own patch to the original one my dad brought home. The koala bear patch was one of the most precious growing up, because Australia seemed forever away, and someplace I'd never go. But I did!
And to the rest of the seven continents as well: I enjoy looking over the badges that are emblematic of historical transitions, when the USSR existed, and Hong Kong belonged to the United Kingdom, or when the EU was in its infancy. Finally, there's the comfort of the patches that represent the places I've called home. (Mental note to look for a buckeye patch when back in Columbus this weekend! Curiously my dad brought back a badge from Cincinnati once upon a time, but that's not the same. I wish he was around to ask, "What were you doing in Cincinnati anyway??)

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