A woman who can’t imagine herself not collecting stamps

A woman who can’t imagine herself not collecting stamps
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StampNews.com is glad to inform our readers about a woman who have collected the stamps the whole life. This hobby made the history of her life.

In 1933, Margaret (Cantleberry) Hines was 8 years old and living on her family’s farm near Lincoln. Times were hard. It was the Great Depression. Hines remembers, though, that her Aunt Stella gave her a book that year that changed her life forever.

It wasn’t a Bible. It wasn’t a school book. In fact, it wasn’t a book anyone had written.

It was a blank book for collecting stamps. When Hines got it, she started a hobby that has remained a special part of her life for the past 82 years.

“Collecting stamps became personal and special to me,” Hines said. “My siblings had their interests. This became mine — no one messed with it. I took the 1, 2, and 3-cent stamps off our family mail and glued them in that book. I’ve never stopped.”

Stamp collecting is a hobby with a rich history. The same year that she started collecting, the man in the White House — Franklin Roosevelt — was an avid stamp collector. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, Dec. 7, 1941, President Roosevelt sat at his White House desk, relaxing with his stamp collection, when he was interrupted with news about Pearl Harbor.

Hines is 89 now and lives near Motley with Detmer, her husband of 71 years. She’s still collecting and enjoying stamps for many reasons.

“There’s always something interesting to see and learn from stamps,” she said. “Many are beautiful to look at. Collecting stamps relaxes me. After a hard day of work, or in the early morning hours, I take them out, look at them, enjoy them, and organize them. I love it.”

Once that first stamp book (sadly, now lost) was complete, Margaret started another. Once filled, a new book begins. “As a girl I saw an ad in an Iowa farm magazine that showed how to exchange stamps with other people,” she said. “Then I got stamp books from the H.E. Harris stamp company in Boston. The books were expensive — everything cost too much back then — so I made my own. Some got so heavy I can’t even lift them anymore.”

Along the way, Hines got help with her collecting. Knowing her hobby, family and friends began sending her stamps they’d get in their mail.

“I like stamps that show U.S. history, the presidents, and flags,” she said of her favorite stamps. “I’ve even framed some.”

The fun challenge, she said, is trying to find the three dozen or so new stamps that come out each year. “That’s still what I like to do,” she said.

How has stamp collecting changed over the years? “Not that much,” Hines said. “Except that somewhere along the way they changed the glue on the back of the stamps. It used to be easy to soak them off. No more. Now I have to cut them off.”

One stamp she didn’t cut off was on a letter she received from First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who answered a letter of condolence that Hines sent her in November, 1963, after the assassination of President John Kennedy.

The hobby Hines has loved for more than eight decades seems to be disappearing, though.

“People aren’t writing many letters anymore,” she said, “so they aren’t using many stamps. Stamp collecting is going to go ka-flook, I’m afraid.”

A simple hobby became the lifetime love of a little Minnesota farm girl long ago. She plans to keep at it for as long as she can.

“I can’t imagine not collecting stamps,” Hines said with a smile. “It’s been a part of my life for so long.”

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