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Lynn Ralston along with her Grandson Keytan — Volunteer

Looking at stamps is such an enjoyable activity. Hundreds of thousands of tiny works of art with thousands of stories to tell pass through my hands as I help at the APS. I began collecting stamps in elementary school when I saw my grandfather working with his collection. I remember how I was excited by all those tiny pictures and wondered how one tiny piece of paper could travel the world and survive. A stamp to me was also an ambassador, a connection to faraway places for which I would search on a map.

I am still collecting and enjoying stamps many years later, and as I began to think about all that I learned from looking at stamps, I decided to interest my 9-year-old grandson, Keytan, in the hobby. I showed him some of my favorite stamps, gave him some and then planned a trip to the philatelic library on a day when there was no school. I estimated that the visit would last perhaps up to two hours. Five hours later we were still exploring the library and Keytan had decided to join the youth stamp club and was diving into a tub of stamps, picking and choosing (with audible enthusiasm) a great variety for his new collection.

We are having a lot of fun “giving back” to the APS. Keytan’s favorite job is processing donations because “it is like Christmas time” opening surprise packages and envelopes and putting away the donated items. We get to see so many beautiful stamps. We also trim and sort or whatever else there is to do. We hope that what we do will lead to the generation of many more young philatelists.

Keytan and I like to do many things together. We fish, kayak, play with Lionel trains, read, participate in cub scouts and explore new things and places, discovering how stamps tell stories about what we do.

I am self-employed as a nurse case manager, a hypnotherapist, and hostess at my B&B but I still find time to collect stamps with Keytan and to volunteer together. Keytan likes to tell people that we break the fun meter!

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