My fellow philatelists, I have a story to tell about how I single- handedly got a bunch of young people to play around with stamps - and a couple of years later half of them are still ‘at it’!
It was November 2013 when my parents received a call from their old neighbours, in fact this was from several houses ago but they still ran into this couple from time to time.
“Is your lad” (I’m forty- eight, by the way) “is your lad still involved with stamps?”
“Well look, our kids have been breeding like crazy and now we have six Grandchildren between the ages of five and twelve”
“No it’s not, it’s a nightmare. Anyhow they all descend on Boxing Day and turn the place into a madhouse, so the Missus and I have had an idea that might shut them up for a while. Could your boy” (I’m still forty- eight!) “could your boy get us a pile of stamps and some stamp albums for them to play with?”
And so it was arranged. After a site visit I found a box of loose inexpensive stamps (think more “Sand Dunes” than “Mauritius Classics”), six matching stock books – so they could easily move stamps around without fiddling with hinges – and some relatively safe rounded tweezers (those are “tongs” to our American friends!) for easy handling and definitely not for stabbing each other with.
The entire package was delivered to the doting Grandparents in early December in readiness for the onslaught on the 26th.
In January my parents received another call “Tell your boy” (…never mind) “tell your boy the stamps have been an incredible success. We tipped a pile of them onto our dining table and we didn’t hear a thing from the kids for hours and hours!”
I followed it up and it had indeed been an unusually successful Boxing Day with all these children sitting in relative quiet for several hours admiring the little pictures without a single drop of blood being spilt “We put our ear to the door as we got worried by how quiet it was, but all we heard was “what’s this animal called?” or “what’s the name of this country?” or “can I have that one if I give you these two?” and no squabbling whatsoever – incredible!”
This was a couple of Christmases ago and I am reliably informed that the box of stamps is still requested and three of the original group are still happily making a mess of their Grandparents dining room table whenever they visit!