Most kids go through the process of collecting something whilst they are growing up, whether it be postage stamps, coins, milk bottle tops or whatever. I’ll admit to having a stamp album for a while but my biggest personal collection was of badges, the sort which were generally round in shape and had a metal pin on the back to attach them to your clothes, rather than the fabric sew-on sort.
I used to buy some of course, but the vast majority were ones that were given out as freebies at exhibitions and shows or to promote a product, service or company. There was one badge in particular though that when it came to my birthday every year I hoped to receive, and this was the “I am X” badge, where X was the number of years old you had just become.
Badges on childrens birthday cards are more widespread than ever these days, and come in a range of styles and colours. Back in the 1980’s though, there was one particular style of badge on a birthday card that was particular prevalent. No matter what age you were the badge was uniform in its design. It was a fairly small badge or around 2cm diameter. It was always a solid orangey red colour, with “I am 6″ or “I am 11″ or whatever written on in bold white text. Most of the badge was taken up with the actual number, with enough room for the “I am” text to go across the top.
Every year when it came to my birthday I would feel the corners of each birthday card before I opened it, hoping to feel a hard metallic circle. Each birthday came and went, but it wasn’t until my eighth birthday that I finally got a “I am 8″ badge to add to my collection. Unfortunately that was the first and only badge of this kind I received, but I was happy just to get that one.