Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Junk Collections of the Future

I had saved forever!
It was mine!
It's not fair!
Maybe I should explain . . .
In the early sixties, exciting things came in the mail.
Okay, yes, they still do.
But somehow, getting stuff in the mail is just a bit more exciting when you are eight.
Isn't it a beauty?
At least it was for me.
Probably because it didn't happen often.
Dad would stop at the post office and come out with the usual bushel basket of ranch mail.
Whereupon (good word) I would pounce.
“Dad! Is there anything for me?”
He would look at me, smile and say,” What's your name?”
“Diane!”
“Sorry. Nope.”
“Darn.”
I got smarter. Or at least more efficient. “Dad! Is there anything for me? My name's Diane.”
But the answer seldom changed.
“Sorry. Nope.”
“Darn.”
But when I was eight, I discovered that you could 'order' stuff.
Free stuff. Lots and lots of it. The back pages of literally every magazine had rows and rows of ads from companies who were just aching to mail it to you.
It was a whole new world.
I scoured every magazine, gleaning offers of free stuff and sent out dozens of requests.
Then started receiving packages in the mail.
Pictures.
Books.
Games and puzzles.
It was like Christmas every time Dad went for the mail.
Now he no longer asked what my name was, he simply handed me packages.
Ahhhh. Valhalla.
Then I discovered something else.
First a little sidenote: Dad always kept a stock of ice cream and ice cream treats in the freezer.
For special times.
Birthdays.
Anniversaries.
Desserts.
Tuesday.
We weren't allowed to eat them without permission, though.
Bummer.
But that was all right because we received permission a lot.
I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with ordering stuff.
That part comes now . . .
The ice cream treats had wrappers. Normally, we would simply throw them away when they had fulfilled their purpose. Then I discovered that there were offers printed on them.
From 'Popsicle Pete', whoever that was.
Offers for 'free' stuff.
Okay, I realize that they weren't strictly free, being as you had to buy the ice cream.
But I digress . . .
If you collected 'X' number of wrappers, you could order 'Y'.
I studied the selection.
I made my choice.
And hoarded my wrappers.
Eons later, I finally had enough. I could order that super amazing, extra special . . . knife.
Just what every eight-year-old needs, right?
Oh it wasn't just any knife. There was a picture of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman on it.
And it cost me every one of my 14 wrappers.
It was to become the heart of my collection.
Of stuff.
I sent out my wrappers.
And waited.
And waited.
Finally, Dad handed me that extra special package.
I tore into the paper and triumphantly held up my knife.
Whereupon (Oooh. Twice in one post.) Mom grabbed it.
“Diane! What are you doing with this?”
I stared at her. “It's mine. I ordered it.”
“You can't play with a knife!”
“I wasn't going to play with it!”
“What were you going to do with it?”
“Ummm . . . cut stuff?”
“Right. Your fingers, probably.” Mom carried my special treasure to the cupboard.
The one above the fridge. Incidentally, the only one in the whole house that I couldn't get to.
“Mom! I bought that!”
“I know, dear,” she said. “And I will give it back to you. After you turn ten.”
I stared at her in disbelief. “Ten?!”
“Yes. By that time, you will be old enough to own a knife.”
Ten?
Ten?! That was forever!
I stared up at the cupboard.
Then at my Mom.
She couldn't possibly mean it.
“But . . . I bought it,” I said again, weakly. Maybe it would have more impact this time.
“I know, dear,” Mom said.
“But . . .” I could think of nothing else to say.
That's when the tears started.
Even those failed to move her.
Sigh.
For years, my knife had its home in that cupboard. Not to be discovered until we moved.
“Huh,” she said. “Look, Diane. Here's your knife.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot,” I said. I took it from her and looked at it. “Cute.”
“Diane! Can I have the knife?” It was my little brother, Blair.
Age? Ten.
“Sure.”
I handed it to him.
One should never have to wait for their fun.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, I can feel your pain from this far away and this many years later! How disappointing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. At least Blair benefited from your pain.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Amazing how it can go from REALLY DISAPPOINTED to completely forgotten. I think there's a lesson in there somewhere. :)

      Delete

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