Return to the Village of the Damned: The Essence of the Glue

Circa 1975…

Emily: “God, Mom. Why did you bring me here? I thought we were going shopping for Christmas presents.”

Mom: “That’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Emily: “But I’ve never heard of this place. So I know I don’t want anything they have.”

Mom: “Well, we’re not shopping for you. We’re shopping for other people. Do you even understand what a gift is?”

Emily, rolling her eyes, the signature move of all known pre-teens in the galaxy: “Of course I do. But gifts should be good. And I don’t think we’re going to find them in there. Can we get back in the car?”

Mom: “After we’re done, we can. Here, take these.”

Emily: “I don’t want to take those. What are they?”

Mom: “It’s the books that you’ve been putting green stamps in for the last year. Do you not remember? Do I need to take you to a specialist?”

Emily: “Oh, those. I thought you were just punishing me when you made me do that.”

Mom: “Punishing you? For what?”

Emily, quickly: “Nothing.”

Mom: “Okay, then. Take these. There are 51 books, one for every week last year except the time you went to band camp in the summer. You should be able to get a few nice things for your sisters and brothers. And maybe something for Daddy.”

Emily: “Wait, are you saying these are like money?”

Mom: “It’s not just me saying it. The books say the same thing, on every cover. How did you miss all of that? I love you, honey, but I’m leaning toward the specialist again.”

Emily: “Sorry. I don’t always pay attention when things are boring. I just did what you told me to do, licking and sticking every night before dinner. And for the record, your meatloaf will always taste like glue to me. No offense.”

Mom: “None taken. Now, let’s go see what we can find.”

One hour later, exiting the store…

Mom: “Honey, why the odd face? We picked up some interesting things. Your brother is going to love that lawn dart game, although I suspect the windows of our house will not.”

Emily: “Yeah, we did, but…”

Mom: “What are you thinking?”

Emily: “That we didn’t have to shop here. You were teaching me something, and I think I got it.”

Mom: “Really? Tell me about it.”

Emily: “Some of the people in there, this is it. This is all they can afford. But for me, it was just…playing. I didn’t earn these stamps. You did. You’re the one that buys the stuff that gets the stamps. I just did the licking.”

Mom: “But at least you put the effort into it, even if you didn’t realize what you were doing. Life is not easy for so many people. But as long as you understand that you have to work for what you want, you’ll be okay. Your brother? Well, he might be chasing lawn darts for a while. Now, what should we do next?”

Emily: “Well, we should probably wrap these presents. I even got a roll of wrapping paper.”

Mom: “Oh? I didn’t even catch that. Good for you. I think we should stop for ice cream on the way home.”

Emily: “Really?”

Mom: “Well, that’s assuming you have a few books left over. It takes two for a double scoop.”

Emily: “I know you’re kidding. But I do still have three books. Hang on a sec.” She scampers into the parking lot and holds open the car door of a woman struggling to pull a baby carrier out of the vehicle. The woman smiles and thanks her. Emily smiles and tucks the three books into the carrier. “Merry Christmas.”


Note: I realize this story only truly works if you remember the days of Green Stamps. But I think, and hope, that the message is timeless, even if I manipulated things a bit in my sappy little way. And for the record, I once owned a set of lawn darts courtesy of the stamps that my granny made me lick and stick…


17 replies »

  1. I was a tot when my (biologic) parents did that Green Stamp thing, so yes I remember them. My mother pouring over the catalog they put out and drooling a little bit. Going to the actual green stamp store (because they had physical stores in them days) and how it smelled kinda strange in there… probably the glue. And yes, again I have mist in my eyes. You still got that mega box of Kleenex I warned you to stock up on?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We called the quality stamps and had a quality stamp store over on Old summer road in Memphis. Most of the small appliances, dishes and linens for our first home was directly from that store and yes, we had the Jarts too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First: I must express my admiration for the new direction your Village series is taking (or at least is at the moment). It’s both creative and brimming with possibilities.
    Second: YOU HAVE AN S & H REDEMPTION CENTER?!! Geez man, no wonder you were so hell-bent on acquiring this set! It all makes sense now.
    Third: You’re adorable when you show your soft chewy center. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • One: I’m really having fun with this non-linear approach to the second round of the Village of the Damned stories. The hardest part? Getting decent pictures in a low-light setting. I’m using my phone, and I end up deleting about 300 pics for every photo I actually approve…

      Two: Yep, I have an S & H store in my collection. Trust me when I say that I have scoured far and wide for a good twenty years now…

      Three: My soft chewy center is the most honest thing about me. But you know that… 😉


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