Saturday, January 24, 2015

Steal This Stationery!

In the trash compactor that used to be my boyhood room, I kept a semi-prized collection: hotel stationery. Either I swiped it during family vacations, or somebody brought it back for me (namely Grandma & Grandpa Lawson). I recall -- or I can probably guess -- having at least the following sheets and envelopes:

Holiday Inn Durango, CO
Holiday Inn Goodland, Kansas (now defunct)
Best Western "Buffalo Inn," Goodland, Kansas (also long gone)
Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge, Springfield, Missouri
Holiday Inn Albuquerque
Best Western Lake Estes, Estes Park, Colorado
Holiday Inn, Terre Haute, Indiana (and I picked up the cable guide as a bonus)
La Quinta Inn, Ft. Worth, Texas
The Waikaikian, Hawaii
MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Hilton, Las Vegas
Howard Johnson's, Rolla, Missouri
Best Western East, Indianapolis, Indiana
Koala Inn, Near Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Marriott Inn, Atlanta
Camelot Inn, Tulsa, Oklahoma (now sadly defunct)

It's there for the taking, usually buried in a drawer next to the Gideon Bible, two or three letterheads paired with two or three envelopes. I would snag it early in our stay and stuff it into my little briefcase. Eventually it would wind up in a shoebox back home -- just another thing to drive the Royal Mother crazy.

"I'm going to go through this room with a shovel!" she once grumbled.

"Don't touch my stationery!" I protested.

And mercifully, she didn't. That box followed me at least into my teenage years. I don't know where it went after that. Either it got thrown out due to a mandatory clean-up-your-room order or just maturity. I should've kept it. Some of those letterheads were printed with beautiful two-color etchings, making them likely worth something to some collector besides your humble boy servant.

I can't tell you when I quit swiping sheets. I think it happened after I turned 13. What's amazing is that petty stationery pilfering is not a gateway drug. I can honestly tell you I didn't graduate to taking the towels, although I have made off with several shampoo and conditioners bottles. During a stay at a luxury inn in Williamsburg in 2012, I had a whole basket of goodies waiting for me, including an eye mask -- but no stationery.

However, I will tell you the people at the Western Village Motor Inn in Salida, Colorado are probably still looking for that kid who made off with a Mountain Bell telephone book.

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