Were it not for Gold Bell Gift Stamps I never would’ve had a new blanket or clock radio to go off to college with. I’m not sure where these stamps were given out in Detroit, where I grew up, but it had to have been an A&P or Kroger’s as that’s where my mom always did her shopping. I loved licking and pasting in all the stamps she brought home and I collected those books like they were diamonds knowing that I could cash them in on the items of my choice.
It was definitely looking through the Gold Bell Gift Stamps catalog that my love of catalogs blossomed. It was absolutely mind boggling to me that you could actually get something for free and all it required was licking little stamps and gluing them onto the pages as the book got lumpy and lumpier, looking almost as if a pitcher of water had been poured on it the fuller it got. For someone who’s a paper freak like me it was just as thrilling to fill the book as it was to get the items the books were cashed in to get. In fact, sometimes I got so attached to the books as they warped as more and more stamps were pasted in that the book itself became more precious than the gift it could procure.
I’m not sure if this hand-painted wooden counter sign was for Gold Bell Gift Stamps or whether there was an entirely different brand called, simply, Gold Stamps:
Whatever the case, my tattered book of Gold Bell Gift Stamps, ready to be redeemed for a hood hairdryer, mohair argyle sweater or automatic hand mixer, looks very nice sitting next to it.
I used to pour over this page making sure I had done everything right. I could smell the new pogo stick or 45 player as I filled in my name and address.
I shall always love Gold Bell Gift Stamps for being a big part of my childhood. Past a certain point I just couldn’t give the books away anymore. I must’ve known somewhere in the back of my head I was going to have the world’s most gigantic memorabilia collection. So I have this book and a few spare stamps and that’s just as good as the portable TV I always wanted which took hundreds and hundreds of books that I never managed to amass before falling for a turtle bowl, dictionary or any of the other smaller gifts that made me feel rich as a Queen.