Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rubber Stamps

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.


keiko amano said...


I know how it is like to browse stamps. Every time we were near a stamp store, my daughter went in and I used to follow her. Just to buy one stamp, we spent a long time to check around. Adults like stamps, too. Once I was talking with an American man of my age who was living in Japan. He talked about his stamp (hanko) so excitedly! Yes, we still use stamps instead of signatures. If you move to Japan, I bet you'll enjoy making your own hanko.

Rebb said...

Keiko, That sounds like fun to me—browsing through the store for stamps—like a treasure hunt. Yes, if I moved to Japan, I would enjoy making my own hanko. That’s nice to know that more adults like stamps too!