Monday, June 2, 2008

Stamps and Burl Ives -- jcarolek

I've always been a "busy" person. As far back as I can recall, I was doing something, filling every free moment with activity. I can honestly say it has been the rare occasion that I have actually experienced boredom. Of course, as a kid, Mom and Dad made certain we had plenty of chores to fill the hours that might otherwise lead to boredom, and with six kids in the family, there were always games and battles to be won and fought.

But I also had my "special" interests that were mine alone and to which I devoted many hours. One of my favorite pastimes was my stamp collecting. Now, admittedly, this sounds like a dreadfully dull pastime for a young girl, but the stamps from around the world fascinated me. As I lay on my belly on the floor beneath the card table in the living room, with Burl Ives' songs playing on the record player, I imagined the countries and the life I would find there, should I be so lucky as to mail myself to the sender of the envelope from which I was lifting the stamp.

Some countries had very artistic, colorful, and inviting stamps, while others left me cold, in no way inviting me to visit. And I wondered if those countries were really as their stamps represented them. I enjoyed the history I learned as I researched my stamps, and placed each carefully in its place in my stamp album. And I liked the fact that everyone else thought this was a boring pastime...little did they know the journeys on which my imagination was taking me.

I was looking through some lyrics to songs tonight, adding to my notebook of songs I'd like to play and sing well....but which will require much practice...and I came across Waltzing Matilda...and was immediately brought back to that red rug under the card table and my stamp album and the colorful stamps. And I thought about how long it has been since I had the passion for those stamps.

It seems that once I actually was old enough to travel where I wanted, when I wanted, I had far less interest in losing myself in the stamps. I kept all of the albums around for years, and occasionally added to them, out of some sort of nostalgic necessity. My mother still sends me stamps she has saved and I dutifully tuck them into my "stamp box." But a few years ago I decided the majority of my loose stamps would serve better purpose for other young stamp collectors, and I sold lots of 100 of these stamps for $1.00 each. In fact, these stamps were some of my very first sales on eBay and brought me a lot of happy feedback.

I still have my first stamp album and doubt I will ever give it up. It holds the memories and promises of travel that my young mind conjured, and forever be ties me to Burl Ives.

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