Something I Found…


I came across about fifty sheets of these while cleaning out drawers at my mother's house. They're not postage stamps. They're campaign stamps from the 1960 presidential election. I guess the idea was that you'd put them on all your mail like Christmas seals.

In 1960, my mother ran a small Democratic Headquarters building up on Pico Boulevard and I helped out in the ways that only an eight-year-old kid can do. I was rooting for J.F.K. though at that age, I really didn't have any idea why. In that sense, I wasn't all that different from your average voter.

My main memory of that office is of a woman who came in and asked to speak to someone who could put her mind at ease about something. She liked John F. Kennedy, wanted to vote for John F. Kennedy…but felt she couldn't vote for a Catholic. My mother patiently explained to her that she was a Catholic — admittedly, not an active or typical one since she'd married a Jewish guy — and had no problem voting for Kennedy. They talked for perhaps a half hour and when the woman left, she'd decided to vote for J.F.K. — but acted like it was a life-changing decision for her. I didn't understand the concern then and am not sure I do now.

Before the election, my mother presided over a plentiful supply of enthusiastic volunteers to work the office. Afterwards, no one showed up and it was up to us (her, one of her friends and me) to close up the place and get out. It took a few days to ship some things back to wherever they came from and to throw other things away. This was when I came across a few thousand sheets of the stamps in a crate and decided to grab a batch before taking the rest to the dumpster. I also took home a large box of campaign buttons which I haven't found yet in her house. But I'm still looking…