Childhood Treasures

Who remembers S&H Green Stamps? They’re still around, but they now call themselves S&H Greenpoints. For uninitiated, they were given away as “value added”  at service (gas) stations, supermarkets and so on. The more one spent, the more stamps one earned. One then pasted them into little books. The books could be redeemed for merchandise.

A trip to the S&H store was always a treat. (Okay, I lived in the middle of nowhere with a mother who didn’t drive. A trip anywhere was a treat.) There are two visits to the S&H redemption center I vividly recall. The first was when I laid eyes on a lamp. A beautiful lamp. A lamp any little girl would adore. I begged, pleaded, cajoled, etc. And the next trip to the store–after the family had accumulated enough stamps–was to procure that lamp for my bedroom.

You see, the girl on the swing actually swings. It moves. I was fascinated.

And yes, I still have the lamp. Right now, it has no shade. The original shade is long gone, probably scorched from tilting to get more reading light. The second shade is also gone. I believe I tossed it because it was in tatters. I’ve been looking for a replacement, but no luck yet.

The lamp has history. I shared a room with my sister. One morning, I woke up to a nasty smell and a weird crackling noise. I sat up and saw the cord sparking. I screamed for my sister to unplug the lamp (she was closest to the outlet). Then I screamed at her not to touch it. Back and forth until my father came into the room and handled the situation. He discovered a puddle near the sparking portion of the cord. After a brief examination, he concluded the cat had bitten the cord and had the pee shocked out of him. Dad replaced the cord and all was well.

My sister wrote her name on the underside of the little girl’s skirt in a misguided attempt to the claim the lamp for herself. Ha! I’m the one who gave birth a daughter, and my daughter had the lamp in her room for many years. It now resides in my office with a black light bulb in the socket.

A lamp with a swinging girl was a big deal back then. A treasure. My parents saved to get the lamp for me. We didn’t have computers, electronic games,  or even more than one television in the house (and only two channels at the time). I had decks of cards, board games, a back yard, and cousins.  And it was all so very, very special.