Michele Bender photo

Michele Mikesic Bender

Didja miss me? Just as we approached the shocking answers to provocative questions about Green Stamps, my computer crashed.

Did you know our computers have names? Mine was “Laptop ZPQEEDX.”

My miracle-working computer lady has it humming again, but it took her five days. God bless her.

I did my part, too. I renamed it “Ethel.” If I had a name like ZPQEEDX, I’d throw tantrums, too.

So, let’s talk Green Stamps ... Are they still worth anything?

I discovered a fascinating website that detailed the industry’s launch in 1896 to its eventual decline during the late ‘70’s recession: www.greenpoints.com had answers.

Yes, the stamps can still be redeemed. The dot-com site replaced traditional redemption centers.

The value depends on the age of the stamp, the quantity that you have, and whether they are “licked or un-licked.” (I’ve always wanted to write a sentence like that!)

Etsy, antique collectors, and E-Bay provide alternative markets.

Wikihow.com/RedeemS%26H-green-stamps is another site that includes illustrated instructions for navigating Greenpoint, as well as unusual, fun facts about history, distribution and production.

An early ‘50s executive admitted that, briefly, trace amounts of green food coloring were added to the glue mix to increase novelty and popularity, especially among youth. (“Hey! My tongue turned green. I’m getting a Timex!”)

To answer my buddy Fran’s question, synthetic modified gum (Yep, Fran! Like good ol’ Wrigley’s!) is the glue’s primary ingredient, gluten-free.

•    •    •

Now, my question: What is gluten?

It’s a mixture of two classes of proteins; one with yeast properties, and one that promotes binding of wheat-based substances.

Gluten can trigger nasty symptoms in the small intestines of folks with celiac disease. (“Eew, Ma! Billy just gluted in the back seat!”)

My precious friend Marilyn from Ideal Park told me about her first-ever purchase experience with green stamps. She’d diligently saved to get a classic wooden rocking chair, but she was two books short, and pregnant.

A galpal loaned her two “emergency “ books.

Several days later, she delivered twin boys!

Her favorite photo shows her seated in the stamps-purchased rocker, cradling her youngest son, surrounded by his four brothers. The chair remains in the living room.

•    •    •

Winter needs smiles, this winter in particular.

For next time, I’d like to write “Name That Neighbor.”

I can’t be the only person who gives nicknames to neighbors because of appearance, quirks, vehicles, pets. I’ve lived in numerous ‘hoods, and each has its own personality.

“Lawnmower Jack” lived next door when I was 4. He drove what was probably the first Toro riding mower to roll off the assembly line. Grass in his yard never exceeded a half inch in height.

You get the idea. What interesting souls made your block famous? Share with me. Ethel and I’ll be waiting.

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and regular community columnist for The Tribune-Democrat.​ She can be reached at MsGeezerette@aol.com.

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