Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sticky Tape, Sticker Books, and Stickery Trees

I have few memories of the farm as vivid as the chest of drawers with the permanent markers inside and the tape on top.  Grandma encouraged my artistic side probably more than anyone else, always leveling my creations with a "pretty good" and the ever-so-rare "good."  Every time we'd go out to the farm, Grandma would have a new office product--usually new felt pens--that we'd be sure and test 'real good' for her.  She kept a stash of coloring books, sticker books, paper dolls, and other activity books in a drawer for us.  The biggest highlight of the chest of drawers, though, was the tape dispenser on top.  There were two, come to think of it, a brick-clay-reddish colored one and a greenish-grey one, both cast iron and heavy.  Mom wouldn't let us touch her plastic tape dispenser at home, so getting to use tape at Grandma's was a huge treat.  And you know what?  My sister and I taped everything.  We laminated paper.  We "waterproofed" paper cups.  We made tape masks.  I think we taped tape just for the hell of it.

I was thinking at work the other day about those old tape dispensers when I went to get tape and the whole dispenser moved across my desk.  Aside from cookery, there are some things that are just better when made of cast iron.  Maybe I'll have to troll antique stores and see if I can scrounge one up.

Grandma must have loved stickers, too.  She made the claim that she covered the pipe in the second bedroom with stickers, but I get a conflicting report from my father who indicated he was the sticker culprit in that instance.  The truth may never be known, but without a doubt, Grandma did decorate some things with stickers.  There was a puffy sticker over her sink, a butterfly sticker in the window over the sink, a frog sticker on the telephone jack, and a sticker on the mirror in the bathroom if I remember correctly.  

The stickery tree bit is rather unrelated to the tape and sticker memories, but they're all stick-ums and from the farm.  There was a tree out on the farm that released pods with hooks on them.  Some how I'd always wind up with those stickery pods stuck in my socks, on my pants, and in my hair.  Grandma called it a gum tree.  The sticky proof was in the name she called it!  In my older days, I've learned that it is a Liquidambar styraciflua, a Sweet Gum tree.  It's still there, standing tall and stickery as ever.

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