My Collections: 1980s Erasers
As you may have guessed, my childhood and adolescence spanned the 1980s.
And clearly, I had a lot of time on my hands. At my school, collecting ‘cute’ items of stationery, from pieces of ‘pretty paper’ (gawd), stickers and rubbers was the thing we did to entertain ourselves. (I feel slightly fraudulent calling them ‘erasers’. Growing up in ’80s suburban Australia, we only knew them as ‘rubbers’, and no, we didn’t associate them with the American slang term for prophylactics.)
We never traded. I have no idea why, except (1.) ‘trade’ was not part of our vocab (we would have ‘swapped’); and (2.) it wasn’t in our school culture to swap. Every last scented-lemon-slice-rubber and scratch-n-sniff grape sticker was highly prized, and most probably procured from the local Granny May’s shop.
If you haven’t heard of Granny May’s, you’re obviously not a middle-aged Australian female. Granny May was the 1980s Australian patron saint of highly-desirable-but-totally-useless-novelty-items-marketed-at-pre-pubescent-girls. Think Smiggle now. It got a smuttier in the late ’80s. You know, gross novelty dick stuff. Weird.
My rubber collection is like a shrine to Granny May’s. I remember clutching a new purchase in one of those highly-covetable pink polka-dot plastic bags, my heart palpitating from the adrenaline rush of spending my pocket money on my ‘choice’ rainbow love-heart rubber (most likely, it was palpitating from the toxic chemical fumes that created that sickly-strawberry scent). Other more ‘exotic’ erasers were collected from the UK and the States, which were obviously my ‘showpiece’ items.
My favourites back then were the jolly hot dog; tea cup and plate; matchsticks; ice-cream; cassette tape and scented biscuit rubbers, but now I’m loving the old Australian $10 and $5 notes. The assorted dog breeds are also rather interesting, and how good are the Star Wars and ET rubbers? All still in mint condition, never used. Naturally.
Tell me: did you shop at Granny May’s, too? Did you have any of these rubbers? Do you still have them?