Brown Paper Sealing Wax And Vintage All The Way

Every Christmas, my present from Granny arrived by post in plenty of time for the big day,  its yearly arrival creating one of my fondest childhood memories.

But it wasn’t so much what was inside the parcel that made me so eager (and don’t get me wrong, Granny had a knack for finding the sweetest little books which I adored,  including the tiny Observer’s Book of Birds which turned me into a Bird Twitcher of sorts – serious bird watcher, I should say or, at least, so far as a ten-year old with toy binoculars can pretend to be – and would probably be a collector’s item today), but rather the parcel itself.

This is because Granny’s parcels were always wrapped in shiny, brown paper and tied up with string, the small, tight knot held firmly in place by a blob of dark red sealing wax. The centre held an image, smooth and flat and probably Granny’s initials, from her personal sealing wax stamp.  More than anything, it was that blob of wax that fascinated me.

Strange, I  know. But if I was a strange child, then I’m even stranger as an adult: I could barely contain my excitement when I found this little treasure at our local garden centre last week  in the ‘vintage’ toy section of its Christmas display…

A Post Office set! I had one of these and oh the fun I had playing office with the miniature notepads, parcels and labels, and, of course, the rubber stamp.  Not quite up to Granny’s sealing wax standard, but it would have to do.  And it must have done, as many years later, I got a job at the Post Officer working behind the counter with stamps a-plenty. Had to go away for a six week training course and everything.

I wonder if children today are interested in such a game with so much else to amuse.  Perhaps my ‘vintage’ generation has more to offer than we think. Back then, I knew one thing for sure:  how much I coveted Granny’s sealing wax stamp kit.   It seemed quite magical to me, and she was the only one I’ve ever known who had one.

A different kind of vintage attracted the kids at the garden centre, with a lot more excitement garnered around the Game of Thrones display than the Post Office game.  No surprise there. And it’s always nice to bump into Jon Snow.

Many Christmases have come and gone since Granny sent her last parcel.   Today I take in brown cardboard parcels ordered on the internet and not a piece of string, never mind a blob of wax, in sight. I wonder if Granny would have gone for the convenience of online shopping given half a chance? It wouldn’t have surprised me if she had; Granny had her traditions, but she took to modern advances with gusto if it meant an improvement on what she knew.

But how wonderful it would be to open the door and find the postman holding one of Granny’s brown paper parcels sealed with wax just one more time…

I received books as gifts throughout my childhood, all read avidly. Many I no longer have, but I came across this little pile while recently unpacking after our house move. An eclectic mix from my generation growing up in the 60’s and 70’s that has travelled with me a few times across the shining sea…

Peppermints in the Parlor is Eldest Son’s, one his childhood favourites and read together countless times, but the others are mine from days gone by.  I had forgotten about Peter Pan and Wendy, the book at the bottom.  It’s inscribed inside ‘To darling Sherri, with lots of love from Auntie Peggy’.  She was Dad’s older sister, someone I last saw when I was a teenager.

Last year in my Christmas post, I linked to books newly published by debut author friends, but this year, I’m way out of the loop. The aftermath of a house move and taking care of other ‘stuff’ remains all-consuming, but I do know of one book recently published which I would very much like to share with you:

Author D G Kaye (blogger and friend Debby Gies), through her own trials, has very recently launched her latest labour of love, her May/December memoir: Twenty Years: After “I Do”

Through ‘Reflections on Love and Changes Through Ageing‘, Debby shares her unique and inspirational stories from her twenty year marriage to a man two decades older than she:

‘In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.’

Debby’s beautiful book, inside and out (like the lady herself) is available here (Amazon’s universal link for all countries).

Next Tuesday 19 December, I’ll announce, with great excitement, the winner of my Murderous Musings Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest.  And the Summerhouse gets to proudly display its first ever Flash Fiction Rodeo Badge!

And more huge excitement on the way with the imminent release of Carrot Ranch’s very first Flash Fiction Anthology! I’ll re-blog Charli’s announcement post when the news breaks and then Happy Christmas!

Despite my dismal attempts at visiting blogs, thank you again so much to those of you who still visit the Summerhouse, virtual or otherwise.  Thank you for understanding my lack of visits. Much of what I want to achieve personally, on and offline, sits on the back burner for now; keeping up with any social media is pretty difficult, making me a rubbish online friend.  But I do not want to disappear and I have great hope that things will start to ease soon. I am optimistic, if nothing else.

One more thing, in case you wondered: that little red tin on top of the books in my photograph? It’s a button tin.  Because everyone needs a tin for their buttons…right?








About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer with work published in print magazines, anthologies and online. As a young British mum of three, she emigrated to California and stayed for twenty years. Today she lives in England's West Country, a full-time carer within her family. Her current WIP after completing her memoir is a psychological thriller.
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60 Responses to Brown Paper Sealing Wax And Vintage All The Way

  1. jennypellett says:

    Aha, Sherri! Just sitting here with my post-work cup of tea and catching up with reading stuff…and your post here grabs my immediate attention 😉
    I had a post office kit when I was a kid and, just like you, played for hours stamping things and sorting out envelopes and bits of paper. I loved it! I also loved Peter Pan – my favourite childhood book. I was always Peter Pan and my sister Tinkerbell. Closely followed by the A A Milne poems. What a nostalgic trip down a distant memory lane 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny! So glad I caught you having a cuppa, I did the same thing as soon as I posted! Now I am not at all surprised you enjoyed your post office kit as much as I did! I too spent hours playing it. I think I actually had two over the years, when I used up all the bits of paper in the first one. I loved A A Milne poems and all the Pooh books. I especially remember being so proud to have ‘Now We Are Six’ – when I was six 🙂 I wish I still had all my Enid Blyton books too – The Mystery of the Missing Necklace, ha! And the Burnt Cottage. Remember those? It’s strange I had forgotten about my Peter Pan and Wendy book, and who gave it to me. I had no idea I had carried it with me all these years, until this move. Lovely to see you again my ‘old’ friend’, thanks so much for popping in again and I’ll catch up with you before Christmas xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. dgkaye says:

    Brilliant post Sher. Nostalgia is a wonderful topic for this time of year, and your gran sounds like she was a smart woman thinking about sending you books way back when. I’ve never heard of the post office kit but can understand how it would pique your interest as it would have mine. And thank you my friend for the wonderful mention of my book. I know how busy you are and have been and for you to take the time to mention my book in your lovely post, I’m truly touched.
    Thank you my dear friend. ❤ ❤ xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Denise says:

    Anticipation is a wonderful thing. I remember looking forward to going on shopping trips because I’d be able to choose a book from WHSmith. Such simple pleasures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Denise! Ahh…I used to love going to WH Smith on Saturday mornings to browse through the books and magazines. Simple pleasures indeed. Hope your run up to Christmas is going as well as can be! 🙂 xxx


  4. Heyjude says:

    How delightful to see you pop up in my Reader Sherri. Good to know all is well and I am sure you are very busy, moving house takes a lot of of you and it takes a while to settle in. I too had one of those post office sets and spent many hours playing with it. And my mother-in-law used to send parcels to my kids from South Africa, all wrapped in brown paper, tied with string and sealed with a blob of red sealing wax! They loved receiving them even if the contents were mundane (hand-knitted socks and jerseys).

    Stay well my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heyjude says:

      ‘out of you’ – I do wish WP would have a preview facility on their comments.


    • And how delightful to read your lovely comment Jude, I’m beaming knowing we share the same memories of post office kits and brown paper, string and sealing wax parcels from Granny! Must have been something Granny’s did back then! My Granny also sent them to my children so they too remember her parcels just as fondly. Just proves that kids don’t need expensive and lavish presents and that it really is the thought that counts. And the sealing wax 😉 I know you understand only too well the stress of moving. I would never have moved in the late autumn (as you know, we were supposed to have moved in July…) but it doesn’t matter what time of year, it really is exahusting. It is exciting to prepare for our first Christmas in the new house though, especially since I now have a real fireplace (except no real fire, that won’t be ready until late January unfortunately, but we can pretend!). Thanks so much my friend, and I do hope all is well with you. I will see you before Christmas 🙂 ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue says:

    Oh my goodness….nostalgia! A post office kit! I recall such a thing, and of course Winnie the Pooh!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. prior.. says:

    oh what a nice post – I know very little of these rich treasures – but enjoyed this very much and your eldest fav – Peppermints in the Parlor- is the first one I want to explore –
    \ sending coolios and flies and maybe a candycane today too
    love ya so much author sherri

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aw… Winnie the Pooh. Packages tied up with a seal on them. Wonderful. This post is full of nostalgia. Lovely sharing, Sherri. Hope you’re doing well. Lots going on over at the ranch. 🙂 (Nice to see Debby’s new book here, too.) Happy holidays! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Sarah, lovely to see you again and yes, a whole lot going on at the Ranch, I’m hanging on to my saddle…just, ha! So glad you enjoyed this little bit of nostalgia, I had no idea what I was going to write about; the post office kit got me started 😉 Hope all is well with you too. See you back at the Ranch and yes, Happy Holidays to you too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • When I have no idea what I’m going to write, those are usually the best ones. 🙂 Enjoy the month of December and I hope it brings you joy (and a visit from your Robin)! 🎄❄️

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s encouraging, as lately I have no idea what to write for anything! Thanks Sarah…ahhh…a joy filled December…hugs… 🙂 ❤ I so hope the same for you and your lovely family. And a visit from sweet robin would be the icing on the Christmas cake. But we do have a pair of visiting blackbirds 🙂 xoxo

          Liked by 1 person

  8. restlessjo says:

    Yep- got to have a button box! And I had a post office too 🙂 🙂 Younger, innocent days, Sherri, and I’m amazed that you still have some of your childhood books. Mine seem to have disappeared down the years 😦 But it’s so lovely to hear from you, and have the opportunity to wish you a wonderful festive season and year ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay for the button box! Hi Jo, so lovely to see you too! I had no idea sharing about the post office set would resonate as it has, isn’t it wonderful to share those innnocent times? I was amazed to find those books despite having them all this time. I can remember sitting up in bed long after I should have been asleep reading them, and I also loved all those Enid Blyton ‘Mystery’ stories too. I’ll see you before Christmas lovely lady…and thank you for your warm, cheery wishes…I do hope your festive season is bringing you plenty of good tidings my friend 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a cozy post, dear Sherri. My kid’s grandmother sent a big parcel today–no sealing wax–just love and hugs.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Some very sweet memories, Sherri. I remember when the sealing wax made a resurgence here and I had a fun time playing with it but it didn’t last long. I do like the look. Love the books you have there. So good to see you again. Have missed you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marlene! Always so lovely to hear from you and I will see you before Christmas 🙂 Ha, that’s really interesting about the resurgence of sealing wax there. I did actually look those kits up and Amazon sell them! Perhaps I should get one…but it will never be the same as Granny’s 😉 I’m very fond of those books. Ahh…I’ve missed you too my friend. I’m so blessed by yours and all the other lovely messages here, I can’t tell you the joy they’re bringing to my heart. I hope all is well with you…I will be over to check up on you, that’s for sure, in a day or two…until then, huge early Christmas hugs coming your way 🙂 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jools says:

    Lovely to see you blogging, Sherri… a little ‘normality’ re-establishing. Onward and upward! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • And a deep breath for that little ‘normality’…ahhhhh! Hi Julie, so lovely to hear from you, I’ve been thinking about you a lot and wondering how things are going. Onward and upward for you too, I hope…will be in touch before Christmas 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary Smith says:

    Lovely post, Sherri. I remember having a Post Office set one Christmas and my favourite presents were books.
    Great to see you blogging again and I hope you have a lovely Christmas in your new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your lovely message, it’s great knowing you too had a post office set! And of course books…lots of lovely books. I am very much looking forward to Christmas in our new home whilst trying to keep calm in getting everything ready…but then, nothing changes there! Happy Christmas hugs to you Mary! 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. TanGental says:

    oh my goodness, the sealing wax and the little stamp.My grandfather had one with GLP on it in a curly script. My brother was name after him, Gordon while I too am, of course a ”G’ so we argued for ever over who should inherit it. My argument which I thought a winner was I had no middle initial whereas he had an F so he lost; he said the G represented Gordon in both cases so, nrrh, you lose. Mum, clear and concise as ever merely took it away and told us neither could have it as grandpa could stand bickering. In the end I kept it when Mum died and I had first dibs in her bureau… Thank you for popping out a post for us all and than you for the memory. Looking forward to the results of your bloodlust rodeo…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha…I can just imagine that argument! I’m glad you ended up with it 🙂 Having first dibs in your mum’s bureau must have felt like looking for treasure in Aladdin’s Cave. I was obsessed with Dad’s side of the wardrobe which always smelled of mint thanks to the ever present Rennies. I was fascinated with his silver cigarette holder…isn’t it funny the things that hold us as kids? Thanks so much for popping over Geoff, I always enjoy our little chats… feeling a bit like I’m shooting in the dark at the moment with blogging, but it is what it is… As for bloodlust, I do believe that murderous musings are afoot as I type… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve got two button tins, one inherited from my mother and one of my own – even though those buttons will probably never be used 🙂 Lovely memories of your grandmother Sherri, I’m sure I would have been fascinated by the sealing wax too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know Andrea, I have so many buttons crammed in that little tin, yet I don’t think I’ve ever used a single one! My mother inherited Granny’s 🙂 So glad you enjoyed a little walk down memory lane. I struggled with what to write about for a Christmas post, my writing brain is all over the place, but it’s what came to mind, as these things do 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ste J says:

    A button tin, I love that, it’s been years since button tines were mentioned anywhere. Packages and letters are sadly sidelined these days as are those innocent games of Post Office, although the Paul Daniel’s Magic Set is still around, albeit under a different name. Great to see you posting again my friend, I hope all is well and that you will have some time to rest over the Christmas period.

    P.S. seals are underrated and totally awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ste J…my lovely friend! It’s like old times reading your wonderful comment. And you’ve reminded me of magic sets…I had one of those too, except my magic shows didn’t go to plan, no surprise there. Needless to say, ‘Magician’ was soon crossed off the list of possible future careers…Great to see you again too! Thanks for your lovely message, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too! Exciting times ahead for you my friend! As for seals, we are on the same wave length with their total awesomness! I am now obsessing about them and see they are available on Amazon! Ha…the irony is not lost… 😉


  16. Good to see you back, Sherri. Hope to see more from you. And see you, of course. Don’t forget to book your ticket for the Bloggers Bash!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Mike M says:

    Wonderful, evocative, charming!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a lovely trip down memory lane, Sherri. And ‘Game Of Thorns’? I still can’t quite understand all the fuss, but I would say that being as I’ve never watched it. 😀
    I can tick a ‘Post Office Set’ off my list, as I too had one of those. Likewise, the rubber stamp and ink pad that came with it always fascinated me. Not so my mother, though. I think she regretted buying the set for me when she came home one day and found the walls around the house all rubberstamped 😂
    As for the wax seal, I have one that sits under my desk. For many years, we used it as a doorstop, but never actually used it to seal anything.
    Hope you had a lovely Christmas with the family, Sherri. Wishing you all a happy and successful New Year. 🍾 🎉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha…Game of Thrones is not everyone’s cup of tea, and I get quite confused at times with the story line, but the special effects are quite something for a TV show 🙂 Oh that’s funny about your Post Office set. Bet you had a lot of fun at the time though! Sounds like a unique way to decorate the walls, and a wax seal obviously has other uses 😉 Thanks so much Hugh, always love reading your stories and sharing these trips down memory lane with you. We did indeed have a wonderful Christmas and hope you did too. Happy New Year to you and yours my friend for a fantastic 2018 ahead! BB will be hear before we know it! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I love vintage toys, too! Debby’s book sounds like something I can relate too — my husband is also 20 years older. There are challenges, but it has been a wonderful journey and the bonds are stronger now than ever. Happy New Year, Sherri. I hope 2018 is full of peace and joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jennifer Butler Basile says:

    I was wondering what was in the tin, actually! Thanks for clearing that up! And still being you – no matter the frequency of posting or time since we’ve connected. I’ve just had my own guilty post about lack of posting so we’re on the same page! Best of luck on all your new developments and movements. Glad you are doing well in the midst of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Jennifer, it’s so wonderful to hear from you, thank you for dropping by. I will head over to your blog and catch up with your news too. You know, I think of you often, even though I am so remiss at visiting you. As I am everyone! These past two years especially have been pretty punishing. Goodness, how your girls must be growing. I hope your writing is going well. I have been wanting to plan a trip to NY and New England so much, and hoped this year would be it. Remember lobster in Maine? I haven’t given up, it will happen, if not this year! And I’m glad to clear up the mysterious identity of the button tin for you! 🙂


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