Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Only One More

Posted in Candy, gum, gum wrappers, History, Institutions, Mental Health by joncrispin on 28/10/2015

I have always liked the ephemeral aspects of this project.  This would have been a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit wrapper from the early part of the 20th Century.  I am sure someone from Mars (owners of the brand) could date this one, but I couldn’t find a site that details the evolution of gum wrappers, so I would estimate somewhere between 1915 and 1925.  Why he saved the chewed piece of gum in the silver paper next to the button is anyone’s guess.

Yesterday, we finished shooting Rodrigo’s things.  In looking at our list, only one person remains.  John M’s case is being sent back from The Exploratorium, and there is a good chance that it will be in Albany by next week.  I went through a very emotional time some months ago while thinking about the shooting phase of the project ending.  I think what I will miss most is the impact of opening the cases and feeling a very real connection to these people who were patients at Willard.  The job of editing the photographs will be the next big push, and I am really looking forward to it.  I am a bit behind on uploading to the willardsuitcases.com site, and am hoping to be able to devote several days a week to working on that.

Thanks for all the support and interest in the project, and especially to folks who are ordering prints from the site.  Cheers.

13 Responses

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  1. Wanda said, on 28/10/2015 at 10:47 am

    Thank you, Jon for all your work on this project. What a gift!

  2. marketing4introverts said, on 28/10/2015 at 12:10 pm

    You are not the only one who is going to be sad when there are no more new suitcases in the future! Dhyan

  3. MelC said, on 28/10/2015 at 12:18 pm

    You asked about the chewing gum… When I was young long ago, my grandmother always carried chewing gum in her purse for me as a treat. When I was finished with the gum and didn’t want it any more, She would instruct me to wrap up my used gum before I threw it away. If there wasn’t a trash an near by, she would slip it into her handbag presumably to throw away when we got home. I’ve always wondered if someone, many moons ago after my grand mother died, had bought a vintage hand bag with buttons, safety pins, coins, and used chewing gum in the tiny side pocket.

    • joncrispin said, on 28/10/2015 at 12:22 pm

      MelC, great comment. I love how the project evokes distant memories in folks who see the posts. Thanks so much for following. Jon

  4. Christine Brigham said, on 28/10/2015 at 12:44 pm

    I am loving this project andook forward to each new entry. I have read a couple of books- Things they left behind, etc and find it all fascinating. Very proud of you and your hard work.
    Chris

  5. Doris said, on 28/10/2015 at 2:54 pm

    Jon,
    Has there been any thought of possibilities of publishing a book of your photos and the notes?

    • joncrispin said, on 29/10/2015 at 9:36 am

      Dear Doris, I am already working on publishers, but so far no luck. It is something that I really want to happen. Thanks, Jon

      • Doris said, on 30/10/2015 at 11:40 pm

        I have also been touched by the items you have photographed and the things they left behind, the unanswered questions and the mystery of their lives. I thank you for your tribute to the patients and to us…

  6. Faith said, on 01/11/2015 at 5:59 am

    Your project has been very meaningful to me. As a nurse I care for people every day who have great needs some of them seem small to others but to my patient it is not. I purchased several prints to put in my office to remind me and others that everyone comes with their baggage / treasures / history. I pray that I will always be mindful enough to see the person. Thank you for your work.

    • joncrispin said, on 01/11/2015 at 10:53 am

      Dear Faith, I really don’t know what to say other than thank you for understanding my suitcases project, and I am so pleased that anything that I do could have a positive influence on your work and life. It really does mean so much to me to get this kind of feedback. All best, Jon

  7. aidenpond said, on 12/01/2016 at 7:59 am

    I’m curious what the eggshell colored object is in the bottom left. It looks almost like tiny bones.

    • joncrispin said, on 12/01/2016 at 12:17 pm

      Dear Aidenpond, it think you are correct in thinking that they are bones. If I remember correctly, it was some sort of necklace. Rodrigo was from the Philippines and Peg and I assumed that the bones were some sort of jewelry. I’ll take a look at some of the other photographs to see if I can get a clearer idea of the object. Thanks for following, and best wishes. Jon


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