I love stamps. They are such unique pieces of artwork that embody an ideal or honor a person or group of people, or commemorate an event or a time or an era. Did you know it takes three years to develop a new stamp?
I love to get mail. Personal mail, that is, not bills. The type of mail we all rarely get these days. The type with a handwritten address on the front and a card or a letter inside. The kind of mail you want to keep and put away in a drawer and come back to or rediscover after a time. The kind you wouldn’t mind your children or grandchildren to find one day when you are pushing up daisies. The type of envelope with the squiggly lines and circle across the top that shows a postmark that makes it look official, because it is official, and posted with a stamp that looks something like this image from the U. S. Postal Service web site.
I just love the panel this stamp came on and enjoyed placing it, ever-so-carefully, into the upper right hand corner of a Marjolein Bastin card I was sending to my friend Bev, who has a wonderful garden that will be filled with daffodils before we know it. I promise I will tell you more about Bev and Jerry’s daffodil glade another time, but, for now, I’m putting a stamp on this post.
This stamp commemorates the Chinese Lunar New Year, which begins on February 14 this year. There was a different panel last year, equally impressive, and I’d forgotten how much I appreciated it until I visited the post office the other day and asked Mr. Postmaster what he had that was fun and new. He quickly produced a panel with this beautiful stamp, now gracing a card to Bev.
I can’t wait to post another card or note or some such thing to my very same friend, whose niece will be skiing in the Olympics as an aerial skier. Then I can put this stamp on her envelope.
I have always loved stamps and collected them as a young girl. I wonder if you have a stamp collection or know someone who does.
I loved it when my Greek grandmother, my Yia Yia, received an air mail letter from Greece, with the envelope all crisp and formal looking, the address in English with a script just a bit different, less comfortable, forced perhaps by a hand unfamiliar with the characters. Yia Yia would sit on her bed, open the letter, and if no one else was around she would tell me to read it to her. I was pretty good at making out the words, written in Greek, but had no idea of what most of them meant. What I did care about was that she could hear the words and have news from the “old country”. I loved doing such a simple thing for my Yia Yia.
I never thought about how stamps are selected until I saw an episode of The West Wing several years ago in which one of the staff members is given the task of selecting an idea for a stamp. The staffer finds the assignment beneath him and promptly maneuvers things so that he is able to shift the responsibility to another staffer. There were some great lines and some actual imformation about how stamps are selected, at the pleasure of the Postmaster General.
There is actually a committee called the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee and an interesting process with strict qualifications and artists who then design the stamps. If you are interested, you can visit the USPS website at: www.usps.com/communications/organization/csac.htm.
All you gardeners and naturalists and horticulturists – and those of you that love those cards with the extra postage envelopes – this stamp will be released later this year and is made just for those envelopes. The envelopes will be embossed with a butterfly, indicating you can use this stamp. There is a wonderful list of all the new stamps coming out this year, when they will be released, like this monarch, and a little bit about the significance of the stamp. www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2009/pr09_118.htm#monarch