10 Country: Jo’s Matchless Memories - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Jo’s Matchless Memories

^ Jo Culpepper ^ Jo Culpepper
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March 11, 2003

Valdosta-- When we hear an old song, it often triggers memories of where we were and what we were doing back then. Sometimes, the smallest, ordinary items can pour out pleasant thoughts.

Even ordinary matches. “I guess I would say I have three thousand packs.” says Jo Culpepper.

Jo’s matches are all new and have never been used. “Here is a Pizza Hut in China.” Jo Culpepper still loves to rummage through them every few months. “This brings back sweet memories.”

An international collection, “St. Petersburg, Russia.” showing our differences, even with matches, like the four-cornered box from China. “Look where you strike this one.”

She has never been to China, nor to many of the places where her matches came from. “My patients have been bringing me matches probably for 25 to 30 years.”

She works as a dental hygienist, and frequently asks patients to bring matches from their travels her collection. “I feel like that I’ve been there just a little bit.” She has favorites. “Where is that one I got out from Norway?”

That can get lost in the pile. “It’s got to be right down here.” Right here with three thousand more, stacked four or five deep. “Here it is…”

A box that looks more like a painting worthy of framing. If you think that each book has about ten matches, she would have about 30,000 of them, but she doesn’t plan to strike even the first one.

One from the US still fires up pleasant memories. A close look shows the King. The Elvis Presley matches she got at one of his concerts still proves he’s a hunk of burning love in her mind, and that was about 40 years ago. “That’s longer than I’ve had my husband!”

Out of all the worldly locations of the matches, she would like to travel to one place in particular: London. Where she could get her own matches and have all the memories instead of just playing with matches.

She still collects matches, never turns any away, and plans to give them to her twin granddaughters when they get older.

posted at 4:15PM by dave.miller@walb.com