Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
Remember helping your mom stick S&H Green stamps into the booklets? In one of their heyday years, three times as many S&H Green stamps were printed than U.S. Postage stamps. They were popular from the 1930’s until the late 1980’s. They were given to shoppers based on the dollar amount they spent. The booklets contained 24 pages each holding 50 points. Each book held 1200 points. The S&H stood for Sperry and Hutchinson, the company that started the stamps. We still have a lamp that my mom got with green stamps.
One of my friends remembers that one of the redemption centers was on the Lynnway. His mother got a sewing machine with her stamps. Another friend recalls, “My aunt went to the redemption center in Waltham and got an Electrolux vacuum cleaner.” Someone else tells me that there was another redemption center next to the old Child World toy store in Wellington Circle, Medford. Her mother got sheets, blankets and toasters. Others got…“a coffee table, a very fancy mirror that hung in the living room, a glass ashtray shaped like a stork, and several knick knacks. Actually everything we got there was pretty good quality.” One of my friends got a sleeping bag and a basketball.
We got a lot of our stamps at the A&P in Davis Square. It was where that veterinarian’s office is across from the Dilboy Post on Summer St.
Here’s a great story from a reader: “My dad bought a Lionel train set at Star Market (I guess you could redeem them at some stores too) with S&H Green Stamps. It was the year my parents got married, in 1950, and ten years before I was born. The trains were produced in 1948. It was the start of a great hobby for both of us and sparked an interest in building electronic projects kits from Radio Shack in the 70’s. Life was good then before smart phones and video games!” All because of those little green stamps!
Gale tells us, ”I remember getting this beautiful doll with blonde curls. I was about eight. I will never forget finally having enough stamps to get it and me and my mom went there to pick it up. The redemption Center was at Wellington Station. Happy days.”
There is actually an online version of S&H Green Stamps and you can still cash in those old stamps and even get new ones. It’s now called Greenpoints, at greenpoints.com. Just as an example, to get a $25 Gap gift card, it will cost you 27,000 Green Stamps. Boy, what a deal! Here’s a great quote: It took thousands of stamps and tons of spit to get anything worthwhile!
I bet if you look around your house, and you have a good memory, you will find an item or two that was obtained from dozens and dozens of books of S&H Green Stamps.
Sitting around the kitchen table helping my mom stick those stamps into the books is one of those great old memories.