Thursday, March 19, 2009

A good dinner and misspent youth

I'm the tiniest bit tired this morning after an evening with three very talkative ladies from Steve's job. At times it was a regular three-ring circus--amazing the noise just five people can make--but it was fun. One of our guests was someone with a very deep history with the company, and it was both fascinating and depressing to hear her take on how it completely screwed itself with the mishandling of this enormous project that Steve and these three in are in the midst of closing down. I had a lot of questions answered and was amazed.

The baked ziti and the carrot cake were both hits. I've sent them the recipes. (No, I didn't just send them links to the blog pages. Some people just don't care about my blog. The nerve!)

Something I read at Mark's place this morning reminded me of savings stamps, specifically the S&H Green Stamps that we used to collect
when we made purchases at various stores. You saved
them up, pasting them in a handy booklet, and then went to a Green Stamp Store to shop for things you could buy with your stamps. I seem to remember my family got a plastic bowl of some kind that we used for several years.

There was another purveyor of coupons: Old Gold cigarettes. Each pack was sold with a coupon under the plastic wrapper. (I smoked Winstons when I first started. I probably inhaled enough of those babies to get a car, but Winstons didn't have coupons.) Same deal: if you endangered your health with enough of these tobacco sticks you could redeem these coupons for something from a catalog. I never knew anybody who did it, but plenty of people must have because the promotion stayed around for years.

When I was a kid I read as many of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries as I could get my hands on--I loved the old-fashioned language and manners described in the very early books from the 1920s and 30s. I got hooked by rummaging in the attic of my Aunt Ruth, where I happened upon a Nancy Drew collection that her daughters had read when they were children in the '30s. Nancy in her "frocks" and the boys getting into their "roadster" for a trip to town fascinated me, and the books infected me with the mystery bug. I spent one pre-adolescent summer sitting at a card table on our screened side porch writing a murder mystery about somebody poisoning the glue on S&H-type trading stamps. I was actually savvy enough at the time to realize I couldn't make them "S&H" stamps because of copyright and libel laws. (Oh the ambition!) Summer vacation ended before my story did, and I think the story itself was lost in a flood caused by Hurricane Diana. Too bad. But look at me, still writing!


Peggy said...


My mother used to collect the S&H green stamps as well. I loved to fill the books every week!

And, I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries. My brother had the Hardy Boys and I also enjoyed reading them. Oh, a walk down memory lane! Wish I still had all those Nancy Drew books. Do you remember the Bobsey Twins? Loved them, too.

Glad to hear your dinner went well, and the food was a success.

Ralph said...

Hi, Peggy. I remember the Bobbseys but I never read them for some reason. I'd probably have liked them, though!

Kat said...

I always envied Nancy's roadster and her independence. She was fearless and adventurous. I wanted to be Nancy Drew!

Ralph said...

I can top that, Kat. So did I!

Peewit said...

We had similar stamps called "green Shield" stamps. You'd collect them for months then pore over a glossy catalogue to decide what toys to buy. Their U.K. HQ was only up the road from me and they had a warehouse there where you could actually go and pick them up. The building remains and it is still called Green Shield House but I doubt that anyone younger than 40 will know why.

Of course we know have similar schemes with Credit card "air miles" and Supermarket loyalty schemes. Times change but somethings do seem to stay the same

Ralph said...

You're right, Peewit. I'm an avid user of my shopper's card at the supermarket, which only means I'm paying what I should pay instead of the otherwise inflated price!

Marchbanks said...

Yer post triggered a bunch of other loyalty coupons to come back from memory. Beside Green stamps, I remember Gold Bond and Plaid stamps, the latter with a theoretically "thrifty" Scotsman as its mascot. I didn't recall the Lorillard Old Gold coupons, but I clearly remember the Brown & Williamson ones, which came in packs of Raleighs and Belairs. (I don't know why you didn't get them with Tareytons or Kools as well, since those were also Brown & Williamson brands, but you didn't.)

Ralph said...

Marchbanks, I vaguely remember the Plaid stamps from somewhere, but they weren't really big here. A big pmr for us locally inaddition to S&H was Top Value. They were yellow stamps I don't think we ever redeemd for anything.

And you're right about those Raleigh coupons--I couldn't remember the brand.

Jeff said...

My father owned a gas station in Brooklyn back in the day and they gave away Plaid Stamps (or Green Stamps) with gas purchases. (That was back in the day when the gas jockeys wore uniforms, cleaned your windshield, and checked your oil!)
We hovered somewhere under middle class and when we needed something for the house, my father would bring home the stamps and books to put them in. We'd start an assembly line on the dining room table and when we finished, off to the premium store we would go.
And let's not go into the times you got a new toaster for opening a savings account... :)
- J.

Ralph said...

HA! As a couple of wags have said recently, Jeff, nowadays if you buy a toaster you can get a bank!


I am not sure whent the green stamps went away. Is it possible that I remember "buying" (with green stamps) the blue and green bedspread for our first apartment in 1968?

Ralph said...

LR, your comment sent me on a search for a little S&H history. Seems they were still going strong in 1968--in fact, they still exisat as "green points" for some online purchases (I've never run into it). So that bedspread may well have been an S&H prize!

Anonymous said...

The Hardy Boys were great, later it was cowboy stuff with Zane Grey and best saturday morning show was Laurel and Hardy. But YAY on the S&H stamps. Mom saved enough to buy me a bike. Now let's see. Where did I put that Food Friday?

Ralph said...

Z&M, wow! A bike! That's a hell of a lot of stamps!

I used to get up early Saturday mornings and watch "Captain 9." (Channel 9 of course.) He showed old movies--probably the Laurel and Hardy ones. Also loved Little Rascals.