Postage due …not a phrase used today unless standing at a kiosk reading a screen outside the locked post office lobby in your town.
Once upon a time my father had a robust stamp collection. Though I am never sure where treasures like this appeared from or when, he seemed to have somehow gained this unique knowledge of what I consider …entrancing hobbies.
Though I never knew dad to step foot inside a library, and there was no internet, we often found him in his little workshop in the basement, at his 2nd hand drafting table, peering through the fluorescent magnifying lamp.
Didn’t matter if it was a rifle being restored, a Kennedy half dollar being polished, or a tiny little stamp from belgium, I never asked how my dad learned these skills…he was just Super Smart. Must have been that Christian Brother School?
Looking at my own hobbies I often find myself picking up something that, only in reflection emotionally ties me to my parents- so far away. I can remember the most trivial details of my mother’s China, my dad’s wood planes, and my Granda’s fly rod with cloth case, the vivid small details, smell of sawdust, the sound of a spoon swirling sugar in the brown glass ARCOROC tea cups…is just a mystery.
I knit, but not because I like to create, but maybe because I think the skills I learned watching my young parents, keeps them young and close in my heart. I’ve never mastered stamp collecting, I don’t like guns, i’m good with tools and building “tools” (spinning, wool combs, knitting machine accessories) other items from available materials. I never miss out on quality China in thrift stores. I knit many different techniques, until I’ve learned it, then learn a new one. I do go to the library and learn much of the skills from reading the same old books my dad must have himself bought in a thrift store garage sale or borrowed from a friend.
I enjoy the challenges of process, not product. I like to discover how things are made and relish in recreating processes from our history that go unappreciated in today’s world. Though I don’t make clothes or pictures frames or even dinner most nights, I could teach a person how to do these things with great efficiency and quality. Because I spent so many moments watching my parents enjoy their life in the best way they knew. I was fascinated with their interests. Still am. That is my “postage due”.