Over the weekend I was in the mood to go thrift store browsing. We stopped at one that is a quaint cottage style shop. It looks like it used to be a small home. It took me a while to get past the entrance of books stacked to greet visitors. I found two. Then as I edged my way into the store I was plopped right into Halloween: Cobwebs, Halloween jars, a strangely wicked old wooden puppet on a string; purples and silver; orange glimmering. It was a visual whirlwind of razzle-dazzle all around this small cottage.
My eyes darted as though following a maze, viewing all the interesting items. Something caught my eye that was nestled among some Halloween knick-knacks. It was a bag of rubber stamps. I crouched down to take a closer look. They were wooden stamps. Childhood was nearby. I remembered how much I loved rubber stamps as a child and the different ones flooded into my memory bank—Hello Kitty, farm animals, date stamps, smiley face stamps, and other random novelty stamps I’d collected as a child.
I turned the bag over in my hand to see if I could see what was on these stamps. I recognized the company—The Oakland Stamp Company—and how my older brother had a custom stamp made for me as a gift. I loved that stamp. It had my name and address in beautiful script letters. I was too young to pay bills; as I grew old enough to have more reason to use it appropriately, I began stamping the return address on envelopes for bills and letters. So when I saw this bag of stamps, I felt that I wanted it. It was $10. Not bad, a little more than I wanted to spend. As I turned the bag of stamps over in my hands, trying to peek inside without opening it, I saw that they told a unique story and I wanted them. Some of the stamps I could see were “beef stew,” “ground round,” a cat, “in confidence,” other creatures, and “have a nice life.”
I suppose that nostalgia go a hold of me. I hold on not with a tight grip, rather with a loose string connected to a past that slips by, not a straight string, but one that has offshoots that go in all directions. I want to have a little something so simple to sit there beside the other advancements that inevitably replace that which is deemed no longer relevant.