A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. My Collections: 1980s Erasers

    My highly-prized 1980s eraser collection. Photo: Lisa Tilse for We Are Scout

    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?

    Click here to see more of our collections.

    Photography and styling by Lisa Tilse for We Are Scout.
    This post was originally published on We Are Scout.

    • Nesta Sangermano

      How wonderful to see your rubbers! Some are exactly the same as mine. I collected them in Britain with my best friend in the eighties and we had over a hundred! When I moved back to Italy we divided the collection so we each have half! Many are still perfumed!

    • http://www.patchworkcactus.typepad.com Babs ([email protected]

      Stop it! I LOVED Granny May’s, and rubbers! The Hornsby Northgate store was all kinds of perfect. Complete with the creepy *old dude with long hair working it. *late 20’s max.

    • http://checksandspots.com/ Clare from Checks and Spots

      Oh my word – Granny May’s! Now that’s a blast from the past.
      I had a very similar eraser collection…seeing yours makes me wish I still had mine!

    • Audra Ibbetson

      Glad I wasn’t the only one! I have been wondering what possessed me to collect rubbers but now I see it was just one of those inexplicable 80s things.

    • http://www.urbanrustic.com Sandy Cash

      Granny May’s! So so cute. So good you
      kept them too. Love. Hope you dont mind I pinned this.

    • Narelle Phillips

      Ahhh…my hear is actually palpitating! I LOVED my rubber collection,m but had completely forgotten about Granny Mays! Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

    • Kezzie

      That’s amazing you still have them! I had some great novelty rubbers- wish I still did! If you wanted to display them, you could attach brooch backs to these and wear them (at least, that’s what I’d do!)x