Paper, Pens, and Post-Its

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Backpacks for a new school year

Book stores top my list of pleasant stores to visit. Office supply stores come in second. Yesterday I stopped into Office Depot to buy a medium spiral notebook, the size that fits in my purse. A helpful young man directed me to Aisle 13 where I found a 3-pack with red, blue, and black covers. Of course, I couldn’t check out yet. What if I’d forgotten something? Better to refresh my mind. So, I strolled other aisles, as I’m prone to do. Good thing. I soon recalled I hadn’t yet picked up my donations for Project 1649, Rock County’s organization that helps homeless youths. I kept roaming but with a new purpose. I wandered, analyzing, choosing.  Backpacks, pens, pencils, highlighters.

From an early age I’ve loved school and office supplies. I guess it’s how I roll. In first grade I had a box of Jumbo Crayons. In those days, the eight colors came in a heavy, flat cardboard box with a lift-off lid. I recall placing the colors in a special order. Purple and orange were always in the center. They were the royalty, the king and queen. Brown and green were on each side, the courtiers. And on. Not sure why I did this, except for my enchantment with stories my mom read from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. As I arranged the vibrant colors, I’d think of the stories. A daydreamer.

Vintage ad for Nifty Notebook

Vintage ad for Nifty Notebook, 1963

The appearance of the Nifty Notebook in about 5th grade awed me. It had a such a cool, sleek look with it’s two top holes, and magnetic pencil box. A vintage ad from Newspapers.com shows it on sale for $.98 with filler paper at $.69. It was a bit pricey for a large family in the early 1960’s. I knew if I wanted such a cool notebook, I’d have to buy it myself with earned money. And I did. I saved and bought a lovely green version. Although I only used it for a year or so, I held on to it for ages, buried in my bottom dresser drawer, then in a box. Memories.

August is the month to hunt for and buy school supplies. Shopping for them, or even just strolling through the stores brings back the excitement of Back-to-School. Backpacks, three-ring binders with fresh packages of notebook paper, colorful pocket folders, pencils and pens, erasers, rulers, scissors, index cards, composition books. And who can forget the fragrant smell of a new box of crayons?

IMG_4830 I recall shopping with my sons for their supplies when they were young. It was a fun time, bursting with anticipation for a new school year, a year to be filled with learning and creativity. Using their brand-new supplies, they learned printing, handwriting and telling stories. They painted and colored. They wrote spelling words and numbers. They made images from their growing minds.

I’ve been a student, a mom, a secretary, and a writer.  In the wonder and joy of each profession I’ve needed these supplies. They’re the tools used to communicate and to create. Of course, I haven’t touched on the technology that first came in my sons’ middle years. The wonder of that is for a different post.

7 thoughts on “Paper, Pens, and Post-Its

  1. Lovely post, Deb. I have a love hate relationship with notebooks/folders, both as a student, mom, and teacher. And like you, I love office supply stores (all the organizational possibilities) and secondly, hardware stores (My father took me to those.) Alas, because of the thing not mentioned at the end of your post, I can no longer write legibly. I even take notes on my cell! I use three ring notebooks and folders to organize my writing research.And I’m always looking for the perfect arrangement. I’ve share your post. 🙂

    • Thank you, Marsha. Yes, technology certainly has changed the world for everyone, especially writers. I still like to handwrite notes. It’s why I carry a small notebook in my purse. But I also use my iPhone and laptop once I start a story. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Oh, Deb! You’ve really recalled some great memories. Before Staples or office type stores, we used to haunt small little 5 & 10 cent stores, including Woolworth’s. I would spend TIME going over the composition and note pad section, the pens and pencils section, and the coloring book section! Erasers and rubber bands. Chalk and crayon sections. Folders and binders. WHAT fun! Lots of other things, too. Thanks for the memories! Kathleen Pacheco

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