Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What did You Collect As a Youth?

It’s tie for Randy Seaver’s weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. This week’s topic is about us. I often forget that it’s important to tell my own stories and not just those of my ancestors, so telling about our own hobbies is a great topic.

It’s funny, but I don’t remember anyone else in the family having a hobby that involved collecting items. Neither of my parents were collectors, nor was Nana or my grandfather. Grandmother really wasn’t either, although she did like to go antiquing an bought a few things. It’s not like her house was overflowing with collectibles, though!

However, when I was quite young – I think about in first grade – my dad decided that I needed a hobby and he started me collecting stamps.

I was thrilled with my brand new stamp album. It had a yellow cover and was a child’s album. The cover had a shiny type of plastic or cellophane on it, as I remember it peeling after a few years of use.

Once my stamp collection began, Christmas and birthday gifts always included inexpensive packets of stamps.

Tweezers were one of the gifts, too, although I have to admit they didn’t get used very often. They were handiest when I had to pluck stamps out of the water as I tried to separate them from envelopes. I don’t think that’s a favored method today, but it worked well for a kid’s collection.

After the stamps dried, I used little glued hinges of folded paper shaped like a V to stick the stamps in the appropriate spot in my album. Both sides of the hinge had to be licked – the glue didn’t taste very good.

The best part about my stamp collection was all that I learned about countries around the world and what they called themselves. Spain, to my amazement, was not Spain, it was España! And Sweden was Sverige.

I’ve always loved learning languages, too, and collecting stamps was a tiny introduction into how many languages existed in the world.

My stamp album got fuller and fuller as I went through elementary school and went into junior high. I do remember running out of space for stamps from a number of countries, though, so there were probably a couple hundred stamps, at least, in my album when I lost interest. After that, it stayed tucked away in a drawer in my room.

I don’t remember what happened to my stamp album. I think that after I went off to college and moved out on my own that my mom cleaned out my old bedroom and the album was thrown away.


Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge. I hadn’t thought about my stamp album in many years.


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