When I was in college I worked part time in a neighborhood dance wear and accessories shop. Ingeborg, the German-born owner of the shop, was a stern boss but she was a good businesswoman, had an discerning eye for quality, and could be very generous to her employees.
I learned about a lot of different things from Ingeborg, including the attraction of a postage stamp. Among my tasks each morning was a walk to the bank and sometimes the post office, where I was to buy commemorative stamps only. Commemorative stamps? I had no idea.
Commemorative stamps are limited edition postage stamps that honor a person, place, or event. There are perhaps a dozen or so to choose from at any one time. Like miniature pieces of art they are always more interesting than the usual stamp and brighten up any envelope. Ingeborg didn’t ever say she wanted a particular stamp, she left it up to me to choose. So this is something I have been doing (and enjoying) a long time; at first for her and now for myself. Like Ingeborg, I only buy commemorative.
Earlier this year I read in WWD that there was to be a stamp commemorating the late and beloved American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. The stamp was two years in the making and finally released on February 16th 2017. To celebrate, the fashion house hosted a release ceremony with formidable speakers Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Hillary Clinton, who was a good friend of Mr. de la Renta and the man who designed her original pantsuits.
(In her speech that day, Mrs. Clinton reminded the audience that Mr. de la Renta was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. “And let there be many, many, more immigrants with the love of America that Oscar de la Renta exemplified every single day,” she said to a reported thunderous applause. He became a US citizen in 1969.)
You bet I was excited to make my way to the post office and get the fashionable commemorative stamp. They’re so lovely.
Thanks Ingeborg, wherever you may be, for gifting me with a lifelong appreciation of a postage stamp.