A pretty stationery box became my first “desk,” though granted, a lap desk it was. Inside normally found with the writing paper and envelopes were pencils, the fountain pen, penny postal cards, letters received, my grade records, the tiny flat address book and a hunk of art gum eraser. The box top was adorned with an artist’s spray of colorful dahlias and gladiolus, flowers everybody had in their beds and along the garden fence during my teen years. The box served me well.
When I married, we were fortunate to have a bedroom suite that included a dresser with multiple drawers. Important papers such as car titles and tax bills were now a part of life and a place was needed to keep them. I designated a shallow top drawer of the dresser as our “desk” drawer and put the stationery box in an accessible spot on the closet shelf. This arrangement worked fine, although the drawer filled fast and we had to be sure to turn folded correspondence just right so it wouldn’t hang when we shoved the drawer shut. We did add a metal file box to our home furnishings to organize the most important papers.
Time moved on, and we set about to build the house where we would spend the rest of our lives. I planned for a real built-in desk under the kitchen window. It had a nice writing surface, long flat drawer, deep filing drawer and a pull-out tray on which my manual typewriter was stored out of sight behind a door. I enjoyed the luxury of a real desk.
When the children flew the nest, a room became available that we turned into an office. Space was ample for the large family heirloom rolltop desk. We each had our own side of drawers and we shared the wide middle part with its bevy of pigeonholes. We could then collect all of the desk-type stuff in one place.
But we didn’t.
Soon the computer age was upon us. The computer needed its own version of a desk to accommodate the wires and workings attached to it. We cleared a corner and set up a prefabricated desk, creating what we lightly referred to as the computer center. It probably will be abandoned when a hand-held thing takes the place of the computer.
But not yet.
Now, if I am looking for something that logically would be stored in a desk I have many options. Check the dresser drawers, top and lower; look in the metal file boxes in the closet (two have been added); the kitchen desk is a possibility; and the office desks with their multitude of hiding places. Then there’s the rented off-site lockbox at the bank.
I dug down to the stationery box with the picture of dahlias and gladiolus on top the other day. I didn’t find what I was looking for but did find an ink blotter (remember those?) that advertised De Laval milking machines on the front side, a tiny cylindrical wood 15-cent box of Sheaffer’s fineline leads for a mechanical pencil (no pencil), the invitation to a college friend’s wedding and a lot more interesting stuff. I put it all back and moved on to explore another desk down the line.