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A Teenage Pleasure Remembered


My old stamp collection - I hadn't thought about it for decades. At one time, during my early teen years, it had been one of the central interests in my life, but after entering high school and getting involved with a wider range of activities, it had pretty much faded from view ... But I didn't throw it out, or give it away. I packed it all up carefully, and put it in storage, little suspecting that it would be nearly thirty years before I would think about it again.

There are two ways to enjoy stamps; collecting and accumulating. The 'collectors' are people interested in not only acquiring stamps, but in all related aspects, their history, methods of manufacture, and how they represented the culture of their time of issue. Items for this type of collection are usually chosen quite carefully. Quality is the important point. The other type could be called 'accumulators', and these people simply amass a large pile of stamps, stick them in albums, and aim mostly for quantity.

At the time, I considered myself one of the former group, and had put together a very nice collection of prime mint condition, 20th Century, pre-Elizabethan Canadian issues. It was a collection to be quite proud of, and it had soaked up the greater part of the income from my after-school paper delivery route.

I was reminded recently of this long-forgotten part of my past life. At the request of our local community centre, most people in our area are keeping the stamps from incoming letters. Every once in a while, we drop them off in a box at the centre, and they use them for some kind of benefit activity. The other day, my nine year old daughter Fumi saw me preparing the package to take to the centre and became interested in the stamps. She asked, "What country is this one from ... and this one?" She asked if she could take some of them to keep in a little notebook. Of course I agreed, and let her choose some for herself, but it instantly brought back memories of my own collecting days, and of my box of albums sitting quietly in a storage room waiting ...

Waiting for whom? I had always assumed that 'one day', when I had time, I would pick up an interest in stamp collecting again, but perhaps that's not the way this story is going to go. Little Fumi-chan isn't ready for it yet, but maybe after a few years of developing her own collection, and learning how to properly care for stamps, she might be ready to take over my old albums. But she'll have to promise to let me look at them now and then!