This is the actual stamp collecting book that I had, way back when I was in second grade. Finding it in my closet, I used it for the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge.
Reflections of the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Shortly after Christmas of 1966, when I was in the eighth grade, I felt this calling to revisit my old stamp collection album. I really had not looked at my old stamp album since the fourth grade. I remember finding my old stamp album in the bottom of my bedroom closet. It was an odd feeling to once again turn the pages of the stamp album that had at one time been dear and close to my heart.
We had the week off from school, from Christmas to New Year’s Day. I had some loot to spend that I had gotten from relatives for Christmas. And, I knew just the place to spend my dough; Moe’s Sweet Shop to buy some Batman, Superman and Spider-Man comic books. But my dad had a different idea. Dad suggested that I buy some Merit Badge Pamphlets.
Well, in the neighboring town of Boonton they had a store called the Laurie Shop. They had a special section there just for scouting items. I remember Dad and I took a ride to Boonton to the Laurie Shop. Dad needed to buy some scouting supplies. Dad felt strongly that I should buy some Merit Badge Pamphlets.
Here it is! My old Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Book! I kept it all these years!
I bought five or six Merit Badge Pamphlets. It’s a funny thing, one of the Merit Badge Pamphlets that caught my eye at the Laurie Shop was the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Book. Back then, Merit Badge Books were 35 cents each. But, to put it into perspective, I got a quarter a week allowance!
That afternoon, I read the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Book from cover to cover. I learned a lot from that booklet. It just fascinated me. I wondered why it was that I had ever quit saving stamps.
When I was in the lower grades, from second grade to fourth grade, I used to buy cancelled stamps in little envelopes at Two Guys Department Store. We used to go there, as a family, from time to time. I still had a lot of stamps in my stamp collection. But, I felt strongly that if I was going to go for the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge that I needed to revitalize my stamp collection.
This was kind of a turning point in my life. During the winter recess from school, I walked down to the center of my old hometown. The little downtown area was about a mile from my home. I was headed to the post office to buy some commemorative stamps. Well, as you walk to the post office, in good old Lincoln Park, you pass Moe’s Sweet Shop!
I had about three or four dollars in my wallet. As I walked by the old sweet shop, I saw Moe working behind the counter. There were several people eating lunch at the landmark luncheonette. I was so very tempted to go in and buy three or four, maybe five or six comic books. Not to mention, the newest Mad magazine out. But, alas, I didn’t. I kept walking onward to the post office.
Commemorative postage stamps were only a nickel back then. Naturally, you could buy a plate block, of four stamps, for 20 cents. I bought quite a few plate blocks. Amazingly, I still had money enough to buy the new Mad magazine. So, upon leaving the post office I walked on down to Moe’s Sweet Shop and snatched up the latest issue of Mad magazine.
Life was good. I was building up my stamp collection. I had the latest Mad magazine to read up in my old tree fort. It just seemed like life couldn’t get any better than that.
After reading the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Book three or four times, I felt confident to call up the local Merit Badge Counselor to make an appointment to be quizzed on the merit badge. Dad suggested that I build up my stamp collection a little more, before calling the counselor. And, I did just that.
A close-up view of my notation that I wrote on the first page of my old Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Book!
It was the middle of February when I called Mr. Hayden, the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Counselor. We made an appointment for Saturday, March fourth at two o’clock in the afternoon. How do I know this? I had written it down on the first page of my Stamp Collecting Merit Badge, which I still have to this day. Yes, I am a bit sentimental about my scouting stuff.
My old merit badge sash, showing that the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge was my ninth merit badge!
This was to be my ninth merit badge. And, it was my first merit badge where I was going for it all by myself. I usually went for a merit badge with one of my scout buddies. I was breaking out on my own. This was a big step for me, on my walk along the Eagle Trail!
To be continued.