Ah, the good old days when life was simpler, and the only thing you had to worry about was whether your scratch and sniff sticker collection was up to par. Yes, my friends, I'm taking you back to those halcyon days of the 1970s and 1980s when "scratch and sniff" was all the rage. If you grew up in the UK during that time, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Sit back, relax, and let me take you on a nostalgic journey through the world of scratch and sniff stickers, and how they were an essential part of our childhoods.
I remember it like it was yesterday: the excitement of walking into our local Woolworths or WH Smith, armed with my pocket money, and heading straight to the sticker section. The colours, the designs, the smells! It was like stepping into a magical world of wonder. And the choices! Do I go for the classic strawberry sticker or the more exotic pineapple? The sweet scent of bubblegum or the peculiar whiff of petrol? Decisions, decisions.
Speaking of petrol I have a recollection of another scratch and sniff smell. Gas! Anoyone else remember that? I think it was probably from some 70's safety campaign. They used to be big back then... all those public information films telling us to learn to swim, look both ways before crossing the road (thanks Tufty!), don't go off with strangers... and "Think Once, Think Twice... Think Bike!".
I bet you don't have a clue who Tufty was! I had a Tufty hankie!
OK... I was doing some research on Youtube to find a Tufty Video to embed here... and I found 2 different ones.
The first shows Tufty as I remember him... the squirrel off my snot-rag (as we used to call them at junior school)... v innocent and teaching about the importance of road safety:
The second one is definitely NOT Tufty as I remember him. It's not for family viewing but definitely the funniest thing I've seen this week (especially given the tone of the clip above). Enjoy!
PS if you enjoyed that then let me know in the comments below and I'll share more of these as I find them ;-)
Anyway I just remember having this card with this scratchable disc on it... and the smell being the same as if you had a gas leak. I remember being particularly drawn to that smell and ekeing that card out for as long as I could, savouring the ever diminishing gasiness. I probably sound like a complete weirdo so maybe I shouldn't be telling you this! I'll shut up!
Source: Natural Gas Awareness (standrewprint.co.uk)... Hurrah... they still exist!
Fortunately though... once the card was used up so was my desire to smell gas!
Anyway, back to the non gas-related memories...
Scratch and sniff stickers were one of the units of currency of the playground. A sort of children's bitoin if you like...
The more you had, the more street cred you gained. We would swap them like football stickers, and conversations would go something like this: "I'll trade you two of my mint chocolate chip stickers for your rare cherry cola one." Those were the days when something as simple as a sticker could bring you instant joy and make you the envy of your classmates.
We had a boy in our class (I'll save him from any embarrassment by naiming him) who delighted in exhibiting a different type of scratch and sniff. He was foul and we kept well clear whenever possible!
Oh, and let's not forget the sticker albums. Those precious tomes where we would carefully arrange our collections, making sure each sticker had its rightful place. You'd think we were curating an art exhibition with the meticulousness we displayed. And when a friend came round for a sleepover, we'd eagerly show off our collections, oohing and aahing over each other's prized possessions.
As time went by, the scratch and sniff craze started to fade, making way for newer, shinier distractions. It's a shame, really. There was something so wonderfully innocent about those stickers and other fads at the time... like collecting pencil top characters.
For a brief moment in time, you'd forget about thetroubles of the world outside (serious stuff like the fact that I'd scuffed my shoes AGAIN playing football in the playground and no amount of black polish was going to mask that scar in the leather) and lose yourself in the simple pleasure of scratching and sniffing.
Today, technology has taken over, and children's noses are more likely to be buried in our smartphones than in a sticker album. But every now and then, I catch a whiff of a familiar scent – a waft of freshly cut grass or the unmistakable aroma of a new book – and I'm instantly transported back to those carefree days, clutching my pocket money and eagerly perusing the sticker section at the local shop.
So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if I can track down any vintage scratch and sniff stickers on eBay (there are loads.... I just looked!).
Because sometimes, it's nice to reminisce and indulge in a bit of nostalgia, reminding ourselves of simpler times when life was all about the joy of discovering new scents and the friendships that were forged over a shared love of stickers.
To all of you out there who fondly remember the scratch and sniff era, I raise a nostalgic toast to those sweet-smelling, carefree days of our youth. May the scents of our past continue to evoke warm memories and bring a smile to our faces.
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