Memory Stubs


When I was a kid I saved ticket stubs from concerts, sporting events, fairs, festivals, and just about anything else that needed a ticket. I loved how one look at a date and time, seat number, or movie title instantly took me back to that moment in time. Memories that were normally invisible in the back of my mind came roaring to life as I thought back on who I was with, where I sat, and how much fun I had. Each ticket stub was my own personal time machine.

While searching for film negatives in box under the bed, I came across a stack of memories I thought were gone forever. When my home was burglarized eight years ago, all my so-called valuable possessions were taken, but what killed me the most was the loss of a lockbox that I used to protect keepsakes including tickets stubs.  In particular, I was sad to lose a set Star Wars 20th Anniversary stubs, (my step-dad and I saw those movies together and I’ve always treasured that time).  Imagine my surprise, when I flipped open a small box and found a stack of movie and concert ticket stubs I thought were in my stolen lockbox.

Movie Ticket Stubs circa 1993-2003

Unfortunately, the Star Wars tickets weren’t in the bunch, but I was still thrilled to find stubs for movies I saw almost twenty years ago when it only cost  $3.75 to see an afternoon movie and $6.50 for an evening show.  As I flipped through the stack, it was amazing to know all of my memories were still inside of me, waiting to be recalled.  I saw The Mirror Has Two Faces with my sister back in 1996. The film strip broke halfway through and we had to wait forever for them fix it so we could see the end.

Then, there are the ticket stubs from movies I saw with my first serious boyfriend, BraveheartBeevis and Butthead Do America, and Twister. My best friend from high school and I went and saw The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame together. We were the only “adults” without children in the entire theater, but we watched like we were kids.

These little memories are just a fraction of what these stubs hold for me.  They are priceless and I am so thankful to have found them again.

My weird habit of saving ticket stubs continues to this day. I keep all my movie stubs on a giant bulletin board in my classroom. It has over 250 stubs from movies between 1991 and 2012, including the ticket stubs from my first date with my husband and the most recent movie we saw together (last month). My friends and family are all over this board!

Movie Ticket Stubs circa 1991-2012

Some other tickets I’ve saved over the years come from sporting events and concerts.  My surprise under-the-bed stash yielded concerts I went to in high school with my sister and best friend. We were psycho country fans, which makes the Ryman Auditorium ticket stub one of my favorites.  My dad took my sister and I to that historic stage. I’ll never forget the fun we had or the patience and kindness of my dad for letting two obsessed teenagers go nuts over our favorite celebrities.

Concert and Museum Stubs

What history and art dork wouldn’t save her museum tickets? Van Gogh Alive and the Phoenix Art Museum are fairly recent, but I remember them as being absolutely beautiful days filled with beautiful things.

While in high school, I had a best friend that was kind enough to invite me to a few awesome basketball games.  I still have every stub and I love the memories they bring of us laughing and having a great time.

Basketball, Baseball, and Football . . . Oh my!

This collection also includes a ticket stub for a hockey game (Milwaukee Admirals) that was my first ever date. Sometimes, I wonder how that guy is doing.  He was nice and we had fun, but it didn’t work out!  My baseball stubs remind me of more time spent with my step dad and my husband. I love both major and minor league baseball even if it means getting a sunburn out on the lawn seats. If I can’t have my Star Wars tickets, I can at least have these. The San Francisco Giants ticket was in the stash I thought I’d lost.

Aside from my movie stubs, my favorite ticket stubs are from NASCAR races. I am a huge fan of fast cars and Jeff Gordon, but even more so of spending time with my Dad and stepmom. Every year for almost 10 years, I’ve gone out to Indiana to visit them and catch the Brickyard 400. Whenever I see those tickets I think of our race traditions, the noise of the cars, the smell of rubber, and the rivalry of Jeff Gordon fans (me) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, (my dad). NASCAR something we do together and it means a lot to me.  I keep these tickets on the wall behind my desk at work, so I can I have a little piece of my dad and stepmom with me every day.

NASCAR Ticket Stubs

Between the newer stacks of tickets and re-discovered treasures, I’ve taken on the project of organizing my stubs into a small scrapbook.  Clearly, I’m not the only one who saves these little mementos as I found a fantastic little binder made just for saving ticket stubs!

A scrapbook just for ticket stubs!

Silly as it may be, my ticket stubs are precious collectibles. Not only do they get me into movies, concerts, museums, and stadiums, but they are souvenirs to some of my favorite memories.

– – –

c.b.w. 2012

31 thoughts on “Memory Stubs

  1. I have never saved a movie ticket stub, or anything from a sporting event. Only concerts 🙂 and then there are some that I don’t have stubs to, like festivals or the ones I’ve seen for “free” at the State Fair. I take pictures, supposedly to help me remember events and situations and places and people (though I very rarely take pictures of people), and then I never look at them. Have yet to figure out if keeping an album only on the computer is the way to go (like books and music are now digitalized) or to print them out and make photo albums (don’t look at those, either). Kudos to you for keeping track of items that elicit such positive memories! I think I might it too cumbersome-one more thing to move, to keep track of, to display, or to store.


    • This collection in particular has had its problems. Some are in scrapbooks, others on bulletin boards, and then of course the ones hiding under the bed. I’m hoping the ticket stub organizer will create some order in this chaos. 😉


  2. Karen C.

    I have a bunch of match book covers from all over the US, when the hubby & I traveled BK (before kids) Every time I look at them it brings a smile to my face. ❤


  3. oh wow CB—how cool. What a wonderful collection of memory-triggers! To be able to save all of those and then re-call seeing those movies and museum exhibits via the sight of the stub. Brilliant idea—and cool idea to have them as one of your classroom bulletin boards. Oh gosh it must be so cool to be a student in your classroom….


    • They inspect that bulletin board all the time. 🙂 I think they like it that I do normal, fun things like going to the movies. I’m hoping that makes them feel more comfortable while their in my classroom each day.


    • I don’t get out nearly as much as I once did, but the movies are still something I try to do every week. 🙂

      I have the occasional program, but you are so right that ticket stubs are so much better in terms of space.


  4. Going to the movies, yeah that’s pretty normal. Saving three zillion ticket stubs…. yeah, maybe not so much. 😉 Great collection though! Maybe you could pick one large room in your house, attach all the stubs to the wall like wallpaper, then find someway to clear-coat the walls to preserve them. Wouldn’t do you much good if you decided to move :-), but it’d be cool to see,


  5. A wonderful stash to find! Great idea … what memories! I’ve never save a ticket stub in my life, wouldn’t have thought about it! That’s a real treasure!

    I didn’t go to the movies all that often, in my youth, but when I think about it now … I don’t think it said on the ticket, which film it was..


    • It’s true. Movie tickets didn’t originally put the title of the movie because you only bought admission to the theater, not the movie. Most theaters only had one or two screens so there was no need to differentiate between films. These days theaters have upwards of 30 screens and the movie title helps to stop theater jumping, (people seeing one movie and sneaking into another for free).


  6. My collection is all over the place and I wish I could go to one spot & look at it all. I saw an idea on pinterest to dump them all inside a shadow box, so each time you pick it up, the tickets would shift around and you’d see something new. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but now I’m back to wanting them in a binder.
    I was so angry recently when Amtrak made me print out a computer ticket on paper instead of getting a real one. I don’t like that, it didn’t seem special.
    p.s. I didn’t remember until now that you saw both Lyle Lovett and Ronnie Milsap in concert.


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