collecting stickers

30Nov09

This is just a selection of them. This was practically the best thing about the weekend just been. Finding Simon’s childhood sticker collection. That, and hanging out in a swimming pool. And Popcorn Chicken in Paraparaumu (technically outside Wellington, so I wasn’t breaking my no KFC in Wellington rule).

My childhood sticker collection has long since gone the way of gone things. Mine were delicate and shiny or furry and came on small sheets of paper. For a while there were scratch ‘n sniff. Mine were cute. Ducklings and bears. There were also scented rubber collections, pressed flower collections, stamp collections. For a while I think I also collected mini soft drink cans, the sort you used to get on planes on long-haul flights. I kept them in a special wooden display case, mounted to the wall.

Growing up I was a collector type, I guess (and by that I don’t mean butterflies, or a predilection for confined underground dwellings). I was a little bit haphazard or – shall we say – laissez faire with the whole thing. Fads came and went. Stickers and rubbers got swapped. Things got lost and demolished. I forgot about them. I grew up and then only suffered occasional pangs of nostalgia for things I fleetingly remembered and then forgot again.

Being the first of four voracious, hard-wearing children, not many kiddy trinkets survived to see my adult years. If they did, they were usually re-gifted, in whatever shabby state, or farmed out to clear garage space for golf shoes, defunct mobile phone accessories, old-model TV remotes, empty wine bottles and old framed school photos. Some of the hard-backed books escaped a Salvation Army fate. The dolls’ house did (but is in dire need of a 21st century interior re-fit). Franny Lanny the Cabbage Patch Kid did. Even if she is now scalped (someone cut off her yellow wool hair for finger-knitting) and one-armed, and vivid-stained, and smeared in glitter (god knows how the glitter happened).

Simon, on the other hand, has pristine evidence of his childhood pastimes. Toys still in their original boxes (eBay here I come). Complete collections of undefiled Golden Books, their spines still entirely functional. Boxes full of stickers. Stickers!

We had talked about our sticker collections, and collections in general, at length, but my eyes had never actually beheld the wonder that was (is) Simon’s sticker collection. Until this weekend. Ah, the elation! The immense affirmation I felt, knowing I have well and truly found my soulmate! Who else would collect the stickers that were never supposed to be collected? The blank tape stickers out of VHS boxes. The retail sale! stickers that really haven’t changed so much since the 80s. Plain red dots. Kiwis and sheep. Bumper stickers (including one that said: if you smoke after sex you’re doing it too fast, apparently won at the A&P fair, but Simon’s grandmother snaffled that one up, claiming she was going to stick it on her bedhead). Alf. Garfield. The usual suspects.

Now we collect other stuff. Books and wall adornments and music. And jugs. And cats’ eyes. Maybe not because we’re deliberately collecting, but more like hoarding in a very small house, because we can’t help it. It’s harmless, even if things sometimes fall out of the cupboards.

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One Response to “collecting stickers”

  1. 1 Sarah

    I was an avid sticker collector too. I would spend hours arranging them in my albums. Although I don’t think I can claim I collected anthing as cool as retail sale stickers. I just stuck to the fuzzy, felted animals as my pride and joy.


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