The Flag Pole 2

The Flag Pole

One of the things that I love the most about the newly built Smoke Tree Manor is the flag pole.  The flag pole sits at the north end of the pool and is about 6.5 meters, or 21 feet, in height.  The flag pole was an indulgence on the part of my very generous and accommodating husband.  And you may ask yourself, “Why would you want a flag pole at the new house?”


The Flag Pole 3
Smoke Tree Manor Flag Pole


When I was much younger, as in single digits younger, I was completely and utterly captivated by geography, flags, coins, stamps, anything and everything that spoke of the larger world outside my fairly rural California hometown.  I read atlases, almanacs, I made charts of international data, I wrote to every country in the world to request tourist information, so, in other words, I was a geography geek.

A family friend located a store, called appropriately enough, The Flag Store, on Polk Street in San Francisco.  Of course, as is true of so many of my formerly favorite places in San Francisco, The Flag Store is no more.  Granted, they were located in a fairly rough part of town, on the edge of the Tenderloin, the home of single room occupancy hotels, the homeless, the mentally ill, and the addicted.  But I didn’t care because this store had the flag of literally every country and territory on Earth.  I tried to stump them with countries like Togo, or territories like Pitcairn Island, but no matter how far flung a place I could name, they would pull out a 1 x 1.5 meter (3 foot x 5 foot) flag to match.  Well, the full sized flags were too expensive for me to buy at that age, nor did I have a place to put them, but they also sold small 10 x 15 centimeter (4″ x 6″) versions as well and those, at about $1.50 each, I could afford.  I remember they were housed in a large dark green metal cabinet behind the cash register counter.

For years I would, once a month having saved my allowance, send a $15 check and choose 10 flags which they would ship back to me.  Over many months of time I amassed a flag for every conceivable country and territory in the world.  My Dad built a display rack under a shelf that ran the length of one wall in my room to display them.  I was very pleased with my collection!

As I aged I never discarded these flags, although eventually I did leave home and with that I also left my flags behind, but I never lost my passion for flags and all things international.  That is well reflected in my extensive travels which are chronicled on

Fast forward at least 40 years and here I am the proud owner of a real flag pole with nothing to fly on it except the Stars and Stripes that came with the pole.  I had to fix that!  Shortly after moving in to Smoke Tree Manor I discovered Flags Georgia, located in, of all places, the place I had just fled, that sold a complete set of flags of the member nations of the United Nations, almost 200 flags at one pass.  So, I bought that.  And the flags of all 50 states, and all the Canadian provinces, and all the Australian states, and all of the territories of the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands too.  And I even indulged in a few popular culture and political flags as well.

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