Monday, 14 May 2012


It was back in the late '60s, in Room 7 of my primary school one day, that I espied the magnifying glass.  It was in the hands of one of my classmates who was using it for the purpose for which it was designed.  (No surprise there, really - what else is a magnifying glass for?)  I was fascinated - it was such a small magnifying glass, and I immediately wanted one for myself.  "Where did you get it?" I enquired of him.  "I got it as part of a free stamp collecting kit I sent away for" was his response.  That was the magic word for me - "free".  I had seen the ad for such stamp kits in the comics I bought, but had never paid them too much attention before.  I decided there and then that I would send away for such a kit the first chance I got.  Nothing would deter me, my mind was made up.  I wanted a mini-magnifying glass of my very own and, by thunder, I would have one.

Close to 30 odd years later, when I eventually got around to sending for it (quite a few years ago now), it could well have been from the very same stamp dealer as my long-ago classmate had acquired his - D. J. Hanson Ltd., Eastrington, Goole, East Yorks, England, DN14 7QG, who advertised extensively in British comics of the time (and is still going strong today).

The much-coveted magnifying glass wasn't exactly the same as the one I remembered, but it was good enough for me.  I felt the satisfaction that comes from finally fulfilling some long-held purpose or ambition that should have been accomplished years before.  In fact, I wish I could sit in that classroom now, at my old desk, and employ my magnifying glass in the way I would've done back when I was a kid.  No, not to read tiny print in one of my school books, but to capture an errant sunbeam and direct it towards a patch of skin on someone's bare thigh (short trousers in my day, remember) and wait to see them jump.

Sadistic little bleeder, eh?

I do sort of collect stamps actually, but on an extremely limited scale: Christmas stamps, TV, movie, and comic characters, etc.  I couldn't fill a whole album, but I've got enough to keep me occupied for an hour or so, on cold, rainy nights when the wind is howling outside my window, bearing aloft familiar childhood voices and visions from so very long ago.
Typical stamp ad from the 1960s


Anonymous said...

Ok,you get the stamp of approval on this one.Good reminiscence as i also remember those ads and their promise of a world of joy and pleasure collecting stamps...Hmm.
Like yourself though,i too always wanted a magnifyind glass,not to burn my fellow classmates(always thought you hid some kind of sociopathic disorder behind that sweet and gentle,but more importantly,to create fire! Yes,to ignite that primitive desire that all young boys have of creating combustion with just the basics of a magnifying glass,a piece of scrap paper and that glorious source of power freely available to all and sundry,yes folks,the Sun! Who needs matches,Bah,boring!!
What power to be wielded by a magnifying glass.i can still feel that frisson of excitement coursing up my spine at the thought of such potential for mischief and skulldugerry in my hands.Oh,that and a catapult...but thats another story.

Kid said...

Quick - someone give that man a blog of his own before he sets fire to something. And guess what, mystery writer - I've still got my Milbro catapult. If I find my bins burning, your windows are getting it.

Anonymous said...

Kid, I remember in the 60s you could send off for books of stamps on approval. A little book arrived and you bought what stamps you wanted and sent the book back with monies for those purchased. I think I had a book with USSR space issues and I badgered my parents into buying me a few. I wonder how many kids who were a bit more street savvy than me just kept the whole book anyways. It did I suppose teach a sense of responsibility and honesty.


Kid said...

Happy days, Ken, eh? We were easily pleased back then - not like today's spoilt kids.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...