...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Stamps, oooh!
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Does anyone beside me still get excited or interested in what stamps are available at the post office?

I’m there more than I used to be I admit; because I sell stuff on, and they require you to mail out “the next business day” I’ve become real familiar with the local sort of storefront post office. And they with me; they know what to put aside for me and what to skip. They knew when the Reagan stamp came out that it wasn’t going to be on my list, and that the presidential libraries stamp wasn’t interesting enough for me. It’s pretty guessable that the distinguished Marine issue in November won’t make my list.

I don’t exactly collect them, but for the past several years, I’ve often bought one sheet to use, one to save; when they did the decade stamps, I did that and recently, I find myself getting three sheets. Mind you, I don’t MAIL that much anymore but I still pay bills, enter contests or mail out cards; said to say that’s most of it. Forms for the government, sometimes I need a stamp for those.

But I honestly track what stamps are coming out; there are posters at the post office and I often have time to kill waiting in line (yes, of course I bring a book. MOST of the time. I forgot today, for example, weird, since I’m just finishing one, but duh.) And I occasionally celebrate. This year, for example, they put out this GORGEOUS brilliant set of ten honoring the Civil Rights Movement. The post office actually issued a block called “To Form A More Perfect Union” citing everything from the sit-ins to passage of the voting rights act, the bus boycott and the March on Washington, Brown v. Board of Education and Truman’s executive order banning segregation in the military. Gorgeous set of stamps. I might never use them. If I do, I’ll think about which one goes on what envelope.

I know, dumb, huh? I still do that. I still won’t “waste” a “good” stamp on a bill. The bills get the Disney “classic” “Little Mermaid” stamp. That was not a classic. The card to my MOM, though, gets the Alice in Wonderland “Disney classic”. Or better.

A few years ago, I had fun with the state stamps; remember them? The ones made to look like tourist postcards “Visit Beautiful Iowa”? They issued postcards OF the stamps and I buy books of them and use them as notecards – especially in my books that I sell. More interesting than plain paper or even a printed out sales receipt. Occasionally someone comments.

Years ago when I worked at a law firm, we had a messenger who ran errands for us all and she’d go to the post office (yeah, we didn’t have a postage meter) and whenever she went for me, I always said “get something interesting”. And I found it more than a little stuffy and ludicrous when one day the lawyer for whom I worked – who was yeah, awful straight but he WAS a good guy and an environmentalist lawyer – told me to stop getting the fancy stamps. It wasn’t dignified, he felt, to put “Gone with the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” stamps on law firm mail. RIGHT. Like ANYONE but a secretary like ME would even ever see the damn envelope and the stamp. But that was it. And I still thought he was a bit of a prig for it. (25 cents, btw, back in 1990).

A week or two ago I got two sheets of “Let’s Dance/Bailemos” – four gorgeous stamps featuring Latin dances. K live this – I just went and looked at the press release about them. They were issued to kick off National Hispanic Heritage month, which runs, apparently, Sept. 15-Oct. 15. Isn’t that great? Black History month is the shortest month of the calendar, but hey, at least they get an actual MONTH to celebrate black history. Hispanic heritage is half-one, half-another. I bet someone could do something with that thought.

This year the US actually issued stamps featuring scientists – included in the foursome was John von Neumann, Barbara McCliintock and of course, our hero, Richard Feynman. And ok, I admit not to knowing who Joshua Willard Gibbs was, but hey… And Isamu Noguchi got a set of stamps this year as did examples of American architecture (oooo, the Chrysler building) and a set of large stamps featuring American Indian arts from basketry to sculpture. Really cool, even if they didn’t fit on half the bill envelopes.

I also bought 3 sheets of the Arthur Ashe stamp. Really fine – and two of the New Mexico Rio Grande blankets. They have a really cool set of magnets of the blankets but dear GODS, if we put One More Magnet on our fridge, well, we already have too many. And they have really cool die-cut pins of the Latin Dances – cheap too! - but I already have a slew of lapel pins that don’t get out enough.

And I haven’t seen the list yet of 2006 stamps but I’ll be going over it with some glee and some trepidation as always. It should be out by now, which probably means they’re contemplating yet another price hike (ah, yes, you wanna feel old? Recall your own childhood stamp collection when you were collecting just regular ol stamps off of envelopes. At 4 cents.)

And that reminds me – I never did write in support of the Asimov stamp. But I should. There’s a move to get a stamp honoring Bill Monroe – that should happen too. I like that idea.

Back in March there was supposed to be a stamp set issued that was delayed and I pitched a fit. It should finally be out next week, and I’m stocking up. Big Time. Because next week the “Jim Henson and the Muppets” set goes on sale. Ten stamps of Muppets, and one of Henson himself. It’s going to be work deciding which enveloped gets “The Swedish Chef” and which gets Statler and Waldorf, I tell you.

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