Grandma’s Stamps

During the dozen years that I knew my Grandmother Elizabeth, she was the family matriarch. A natural caregiver, it was not by chance that she was also a registered nurse.

By today’s standards, it would be ironical that she was a heavy smoker, as was just about everybody in my childhood family. It was smoking that led to her early death.

She was also an outdoor woman. He fished for stripped bass and cat-fish out of Del’s Boat Harbor at the Livermore Yacht Club near Mountain House.

Born in the year 1902 at Red Bluff, her family lived at Rich Bar, on the North Fork of the Feather River. She schooled in Quincy where she met my grandfather, Dwight. He was a Quincy native, born in the year 1900.

grandma and grandpa Fletcher

Dwight                                                                              Elizabeth

It was grandma and gramdpa who introduced my brother and I to camping, fishing and hunting. After retirement they spent their summers in the Almanor area. Grandpa remembered the Mount Lassen eruption and the large valley that existed prior to the creation of the lake.

My father came along in 1923, born in Colusa, as the family struggled to make a living in Williams. Grandpa found employment with PG&E and then took up residence in Montana for a while when California work ran out.

While grandpa was away, grandma and dad moved in with my Great Grandmother Minerva, who was a telephone operator at North Shore – Lake Tahoe.

Dad has several times told me the story of a trip that he and grandma made to San Francisco to visit relatives. On the way home darkness and fatigue forced grandma to park their vehicle by the side of the Highway between Auburn and Truckee.

They had a blanket and grandma wasn’t worried, just tired. They made their way into the woods and slept until a police officer appeared and suggested the woods were not safe and they should be on their way.

One of grandma’s favorite stories about their early days was the tale about stamp collecting. Because they had no funds for investment, she would occasionally go to the post office and purchase stamps, sometimes entire sheets of stamps and collect them in hopes that they would grow in value.

When my mom passed a few years ago, dad found grandma’s stamp collection and on the day that he held an estate sale, I spotted the cardboard box full of stamps. Dad said he was selling the collection for $150. Emotionally, I told him I’d rather he let me have them and related to him grandma’s story. He said OK.

So for a few years now, the box of stamps has sat in my closet and it’s time for me to do something with them. I’m not a collector of stamps. I’ll be selling them, probably a few at a time. First I need to do inventory.

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