Today’s post is a bit of a departure from my gardening antics. It’s a love letter, a giveaway and a way to celebrate my dad. He died in early August, 1969 at the age of 54. I was nine.
This year, things are different. I’ve worked many hours with a caring and knowledgeable therapist, reaching in to the dark corners of my confusing childhood. My willingness to do the hard work finally paid off. I’ve been able to integrate the vulnerable girl I was into a strong, caring adult. Through Fran’s guidance, I’ve arrived at a happier place.
Will you celebrate with me?
My father, Eric, had lots of hobbies. Outdoors, he gardened, spending hours working with his hands to shape our beautiful, Ontario garden. He dug a small brook along the garden path to collect water and snow. The garden brimmed with flowers and in the summer, garden vegetables and fruits. I tasted my first cherry tomato from his garden. My sister Sharon and I would race around pinching the snapdragons. Dad taught me why bees are important and why you should never hurt one. Mom gave me a pair of spoons so I could dig in the dirt under the kitchen window while dad played in the garden nearby. There are many cherished memories of our home in Canada.
During the winter months, dad worked on his indoor hobbies. He built a wooden model of the Golden Hind. He painted, collected coins, made home-made movies with his Super 8 and he collected stamps from around the world.
Born in Oldham, England, dad studied horticulture and design. He lived in Darjeeling, India for many years where he worked on a tea plantation. He was a captain in the army, and worked as a translator. After the war, disillusioned with life back in England, he moved to Ontario, Canada. There he met our mother on a blind date. According to Mum, she didn’t want to go. Her friend convinced her that my dad was a good dancer so she went. They married a year later.
My parents moved to California in the fall of 1966. By Christmas, 1968 dad had lung cancer. He died the following year.
My tall, slender dad loved teasing us. He would exclaim loudly at something outside the window, then when you turned back your dessert was gone. We fell for it every time. He came home from work hiding small gifts behind his back and my sister and I would get to choose which hand. He saved extra postage stamps to encourage our own collections. He loved animals and children, art and photography, and most of all he loved us. And of course, he loved gardening.
Vintage Postage Give-away
My dad collected stamps from his travels and through buy and trade. Packets of stamps arrived in the mail, ready for soaking and mounting in his Burgundy-covered New Age Stamp Album. May years after his death, Mum sold a few of his stamp albums and gave each of us the money toward college. She saved the rest of his albums and they came to me after she died. I’ve leafed through them from time to time, amazed at his vast collection. My oldest son took one of his albums for show and tell in grade school. Recently I sent some of his stamps to a dear and trusted friend and realized the joy in releasing them to someone special. My sister plans to make cards for her friends with the album in her care.
Here is where you come in. My dad would get a kick out of the idea of mailing these stamps around the world again. The album pages have come free of their binding. They’re ready to go. If you look for a ‘sign’ you can find one anywhere, so for me, this is a sign to mail the stamps to you, and quickly before the post office goes broke. I once viewed his albums as a life and a hobby interrupted. Now I see them as a gift to be shared, and as a way to celebrate his kindness, generosity, curiosity and care. Will you please take part?
The stamp issue dates are mid-1937 to mid-1938.
Please make your requests using the contact form. Click here. This keeps the requests private and allows you to provide your complete name and address for mailing.
On the form, please request your first, second and third country of choice. Include your full name and mailing address. That’s it. Please make your request by August 31, 2014. If I still have pages after that date, I will let you know. Click on the list of postage stamp countries to see what’s available:
What can you do with a bunch of old postage stamps?
- Use them to make mixed-media art
- Make a birthday card for someone special
- Laminate them in strips and use them for bookmarks
- Add them to a scrapbook page
- Give them to a child and make up a story to go with them
- Celebrate history
- Take part in this gardening nirvana blogging adventure.
Pinterest curates some great pieces of art using postage.
Please let me know what you think in the comments, and then send your request via the contact form. I would love it if you joined in the fun?