1950's Matchbook advertising "Tie Press"

Throwing things away becomes easier each day as I tunnel through the rooms in my house.  I’ve become so proficient at tossing stuff into the garbage that I finally dragged home the bag of cigar boxes that sat in the outdoor fireplace in Martinsville.  The bag had been waiting for this moment for well over a year.  I had even forgotten that it held anything more than old cigar boxes that I might or might not find useful.

Four days later I dragged the bag out of my trunk and into the house, giving it a rest on the landing to the basement.  Two days later, finding myself with an extra day at home due to car problems, I opened the bag and discovered the nine cigar boxes and one 1950’s Russell Stover Candies box were filled with matchbooks.  Nettie squirreled away souvenirs of trips and dinners, local, national and international.  It would be an easy toss to say the least, or so I thought.

After dumping the matchbooks from two of the cigar boxes, the image of woman in a blue dress ironing a yellow polka-dot tie caught my eye.  For only $1.50 I could by the “TIE PRESS” to save time, save money and save ties.  This remarkable offer expired on January 31, 1951, nine months before I was born.  I don’t think Nettie was spending her evenings ironing my dad’s ties.  Next there was THE RELAXOR.  “King Edward is THE RELAXOR”  I could write for a free illustrated Owners Manual giving instructions on how to gain maximum enjoyment and relaxation from THE RELAXOR.  Taggarts Driving School boasts “college trained teachers”.  Carousel Lounge In New Orleans claims “the first revolving bar in the south”.  Hotel Webster Hall in Pittsburgh, PA is “within walking distance of Everything Worthwhile”.  Admiral Perry Motel in Cincinnati advertises hot water heat and tile baths.  South Dakota’s Miner’s Ore House Restaurant in Keystone is the “Finest Little Ore House In The West”.  For only $9.25 plus 6% sales tax, for California residents, one can order the deluxe edition of a “Space Cadet” high quality, adjustable cap with embroidered patch and scrambled eggs on the brim.  What could be better than that?

Hawaiin Regent Matchbook tips cut off

An hour later I had the matchbook collection sorted into several piles.  Matchbooks from the Playboy Club in Miami, Lake Geneva, Boston, London, San Francisco, Manchester, Cincinnati, Denver, Atlanta and Montreal made up one pile.  Matchbooks from The Pancake Man, Admiral Perry Motel, Dingle Motel, Kalaloch Lodge and Spread Eagle Inne topped off another pile.  More than a dozen matchbooks made up the third pile, a pile without a theme, but with one common characteristic.  All of the match tips had been carefully cut off as a safety precaution.  I try to imagine my mother carefully cutting the tips off of all those matches and storing them carefully in the cigar boxes.  I wonder where my mother obtained the cigar boxes.  No one in our family smoked cigarettes or cigars.  It would have made more sense to find the collection stored in ten candy boxes.

The matchbooks temporarily turned back the calendar to a time when “children under 18” slept without charge in a hotel and the Holiday Inn offered to “Let us teletype ahead FREE …. for your next reservation”.

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