Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

His Travels, Stitched in Cloth ; Decorating a Blanket with All My Son's Travel Patches Was a Labor of Love

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

His Travels, Stitched in Cloth ; Decorating a Blanket with All My Son's Travel Patches Was a Labor of Love

Article excerpt

One of the most affordable and portable souvenirs of travel is the simple sew-on patch. My son began collecting them at an early age.

Cloth mementos of our travels - in Canada, Britain, Europe, and the US - symbolize a collective experience that Tim has largely forgotten, at least consciously. But I think it resides in his memory at some level, just as vibrantly as the colorfully stitched scenes and symbols of his patches connote those far-flung destinations.

Six or seven years ago, as Tim entered his teens, I assembled his growing collection of patches and sewed them onto a dark-green wool blanket, both for safekeeping and display.

At the time, Tim was better traveled than I was, and he had a keen interest in history.

He had accompanied his dad to Civil War battlefields, Colonial Williamsburg, Florida, Canada, and even to Europe once again. The collection of patches he brought home continued to grow.

Decorating that blanket was a secret labor of love for a nonsewer such as I, and Tim appreciated the result when he opened the package on Christmas morning. It looked beautiful across the bottom of his bed, and had plenty of room for travel patches to come.

I took Tim traveling as well - if not overseas, at least to the states that border our Indiana home, and occasionally beyond.

In the summers, we often drove to Galesburg, Ill. (its Railway Museum sells a lovely patch) and boarded Amtrak's intercity train, the Southwest Chief, to visit friends in Colorado. Tim found his trip patch at the Cuchara Mountain Resort, with its stunning view of the big peak.

Over one school vacation we hiked a short stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia's Shenandoah Park. The trail's patch - with its green mountains, dark pines, and gold sky - is one of my favorites.

Once or twice Tim accompanied me to Washington D.C., when I went there for work. …

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