I believe it’s time for a political break. The whole mess has put me in a sour mood and I’d rather talk about writing goodies. So here are a few vintage writing keepsakes I’ve been collecting while on my tiny address book binge. I can’t help myself, really – they’re cheap, easy to find, and a complete delight to actually use. The lovely embedded abalone memo book with pencil above is my absolute favorite, and it only set me back about $4.00 on Ebay.
Oh, you can
spend a fortune on the real McCoy sterling silver keepsakes, but I’m all about the cheap brass or tin variety. The memo covers are always just this side of classy and don’t seem to tarnish or wear in an unattractive way. The delicate brass pencil is a bit of a problem, though – I can’t seem to find the right size lead. It has to fit perfectly
. The whole thing is 2 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ and finding little replacement notepads is no problem at all. It doesn’t appear to have been used much, if at all. only one piece of the original paper is torn off. This little keepsake must have lost it’s initial luster quickly for some reason.
There’s nothing quite like jotting a little here-and-there note in this compact keepsake – I’ve had to get over my post-it note brainwashing, though. It’s embarrassing trying to stick a note that simply doesn’t stick.
This little notebook
is the same size and weighs almost nothing. It’s made completely out of cheap tin, cost all of $2.00, and I couldn’t love it more. The name “Evelyn” and pieces of an address in Pennsylvania are hand-etched on the inside cover, and it looks like our girl made her own notepads out of scratchy rag paper, cutting each page by hand and fastening them together with a staple.
This one wasn’t a throwaway keepsake at all. I’m guessing Evelyn had this for quite some time, writing lists and addresses and directions and things to remember. I’m also guessing Evelyn in Pennsylvania was quite proud of this sweet little memo book and might have made a modest public showing of pulling it out to make this note and that. In rooms where all the girls have ornate sterling, it wouldn’t work. But in a world of women with no silver memo books at all – tin or otherwise – Evelyn would be quite a hit.
My grandmother told me once that if your pearls aren’t real, you must either have an electric smile or a very fast walk. I’ll bet Evelyn had a winning smile.
Well, I’ve been on Ebay again. And look what I found…this is a tee-ninsy woman’s address book – just 1 3/4″ by 2 1/2″. It literally fits in the palm of my hand and is so shiny/classy I almost feel like a dimestore starlet. The button beside the letters slides up and down, and when I push the little cigarette case-like button on the bottom the book opens up to just that page. This little address-keeper has no scribbling in it whatsover, and a 1955 calendar on the back of each page. An unwanted gift, maybe, from a beau she didn’t love. Or the one who couldn’t buy her something better.
His name might have been Roger, or Jim, or Richard – nothing dashing enough, really, for her to write in the little book. Maybe the gift was a disappointment, a decision made, not enough. After she left him outside the door, she may have tucked it away in a scarf drawer with the other almost-but-not-quite things from perfectly nice gentlemen who wore the wrong hats or didn’t quite manage to shine their shoes. Another trinket from a fellow working behind a counter instead of a desk.
I’m sure he knew she was too good for him. He knew when she opened the box.
And he was such a nice one, too. Awfully sweet. That’s why she didn’t have the heart to throw it away or fill it up with other men’s addresses. It’s a heavy guilt saying no to a worthy man who falls short in ways you’re ashamed to admit matter. But they did matter.
It’s mine now – the address book and the story. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter – it’s true enough.