Tag Archives: capers

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #7

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my middle sister and i hatched a plan to get on the radio

when we heard about a fund raising radio-thon.

 anyone who called in with a year-long pledge

would hear their names on the radio as a thank you.

as soon as our mom went upstairs

we dialed up the station on our kitchen phone

 excitedly pledging to send 2 dollars a month for a whole year.

within the hour, we heard our names announced

we were so proud and cheering for ourselves

until all the noise caused our mom to come downstairs

asking what we were celebrating

as she quickly reminded us once again

that we were young kids with no income

(other than what we made from our other schemes)

and there was no way we could actually pay them a cent.

 how quickly our fame turned to shame

 how fearful we were

thinking the radio station

would send someone right over to our door to collect.

though they might not have found us

as we were soon busy doing hard time in our room.

‘fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate.’

-emily dickinson

 

 

 

 

image credit: eBay

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #6

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(not my actual sale, this one is 70 miles long, but you get the feel of it)

there was that time

when i decided the best way to earn some quick cash

was to have a yard sale.

so i dragged our lemonade stand table out into the front yard

threw a plastic tablecloth over it

made a sign

covered it with stuff to sell

opened for business

let the cash flow begin!

 a couple of friends and their sibs

stopped by on bikes

to check it out

i quickly made 57 cents

things were humming along at a nice pace

the venture was looking promising

i thought i’d do this each weekend

maybe hire an assistant

deciding what i’d do with all the cash

until

my sister came marching out of the house

to see what was going on

 realized that i was selling her stuff

my mom soon followed

and that business closed pretty quickly.

“three dollars and it only transports matter?!”

(at professor frink’s yard sale – homer simpson)

fictional character from the animated tv series created by matt groening, the simpsons

 

 

 

image credit: cbc.ca

 

 

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #1

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it began with the arrival of a letter when i was seven years old

with stamp on it that looked different from any i had ever seen

so beautiful and very exotic

and it came from my nana

who lived far away from michigan, in the exotic land of florida.

i thought that it was beautiful

and i decided then and there to become a stamp collector.

i cut that stamp from the envelope and glued it into a notebook.

not long after

i saw an offer to join a monthly stamp collecting club

in my archie comic book

and i noticed, as  i went to send in the offer

 that a parent had to sign it

so i asked my dad to give me his autograph on a piece of scrap paper

cut it out and glued it onto the form

(an early foray into my ill-fated attempts at a criminal career)

added in 99 cents from my piggy bank

and i was off to the races.

i eagerly awaited the day my first stamps would arrive

i had chosen some beauties and i ran home every day

hoping to find them in the mail

and on one glorious day – they were waiting for me!

i tore open the envelope

excitedly looked through them

licked them and placed them in my book

already looking forward to the next month’s arrival.

no one in my family was a collector

so i was taken by surprise when i showed them off to my friend’s older sister

who told me that real collectors only put them in cases

never touch them, and would never, ever lick them

– or they would instantly be made worthless!

i was quite taken aback

as it had never occurred to me that

this would be the reason people collected them

i had thought of them more as a collection of tiny beautiful pictures,

pieces of art, from places far away –

new guinea, finland, new zealand and even the legendary land of  canada

i had chosen flowers, and children, and animals, and pretty designs

with no interest at all in old president’s heads, history, nor with any regard for value.

my version of ‘stamp collecting’ was simply collecting my favorites

and keeping them all in one place, in my special notebook.

i have always loved a mix of patterns and colors and collages of things.

the other thing i had not considered at all

was that i had no income

and would have to continue to pay in order to continue to receive stamps

the next month, when my new set arrived

i gathered more change together, put it in an envelope,

and of course it was never received.

they sent a new batch of stamps along with a due bill and i was panicked

still without any source of income

always waiting for them to show up at the door to tell my parents and to collect.

by the third month,

i simply collected envelopes that came from them

affixed with boring american stamps,

filled with letters, asking me to pay up

and my stamp collecting hobby fell by the wayside.

though i still have a great appreciation for beautiful stamps

and love licking them to put on handwritten letters that i send to places all over the world.

“synonyms for collectable postage stamps: “sticky treasures,”

“collection of paper heads,” “pretty bits of paper,” and “colorful scraps.”

-alan brandley – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie