The bottom drawer of the buffet often held bags chock full of 1s, 10s, and 50s.
No, sir. No, ma’am.
S&H Green Stamps!
Those little green perforated strips of glue-backed paper were the first things I remember collecting.
I’m sure there were other businesses that issued trading stamps, but the Dixie Super Store in Clanton where we bought big groceries was the source of most of ours.
Momma, Aubrey, and I spent many a Sunday afternoon “lickin’ and stickin'” our Green Stamps in the books.
We’d pore over the S&H Ideabook like it was the Sears & Roebuck Christmas Wish Book. I don’t recall ever engaging in a Brady Bunch level disagreement over what to redeem the Green Stamps for, but my retrovision may be a little foggy.
We’d circle our hearts’ desires in the Ideabook and “lick and stick” diligently until we had enough books ready to send off.
On that grand and glorious day, Momma’d stack up the books, put the order form on top, tie the bundle up with twine, wrap it in a cut-up paper sack, apply a generous amount of 3M Scotch tape, write the S&H Green Stamp redemption center’s address on it, and get Daddy to take her down to the Post Office located next to Bill’s Dollar Store by the railroad track.
A few weeks later we’d get our treasures delivered right up the door of the little house on Highway 22…
…Momma’s first electric hand mixer with the beaters that’d pop out
…a big, tall can of real wooden Tinkertoys
…a rectangular, red case containing a real metal Erector Set
…a set of three ceramic Mallard ducks that sat on the coffee table in our little living room for years
…a metal three-shelf bookcase that sat at the end of the hallway between the bedrooms until a decade ago
…and the cuckoo clock.
The cuckoo clock that since 1960-something hung on the wall just inside the living room door.
The cuckoo clock whose plastic bird’s noisy hourly appearance amused three generations of children and whose dangling chains and descending metal evergreen cones captivated at least four cats that made our little house their domain.
The cuckoo clock that Daddy wound thousands of times by pulling the chains after he’d set down his lunchbox when he’d walk in from work.
The cuckoo clock that Daddy discovered had stopped working that very afternoon in 2003 when Momma went Home at Suppertime.
The cuckoo clock that continued to hang on the wall…silent…for just over ten more years.
The cuckoo clock whose outline was still visible on the paneling of the wall of the little house on Highway 22 when it got a new family in 2015.
The cuckoo clock that I will someday be able to take out of its box in my front closet. That day will arrive…but not yet.
Yes indeed, S&H Green Stamps brought treasures to our family.
They sure did.
Steve Latham – May 16, 2017