Friday, April 13, 2012

The paper trail

In a moment of generosity and clarity, I decided that this was the week to pass on my childhood desk to my daughter.

A 'personality furniture'' kitset desk circa 1974, I remember my Dad proudly putting in up in my bedroom, and me carefully filling the drawers with paper and pencils (no felt tips back then!), my precious stapler and scissors, and a prized roll of sellotape.

I've been using it as my office desk until now, and the contents of the drawers have hardly changed.  Except that there's some felt tips in there too of course!

But as I was emptying the drawers, I came across my two precious address books - the first started when I went overseas on my own for the first time in 1986, and the second given to me when I was living in the UK.  They contain hundreds of addresses of people I met on my travels, many of whom I am still in touch with.  And that's the thing that really struck me.  The ones I keep in touch with.  No letter writing any more.  Barely even a Christmas card.  In fact, I can't even remember the last time I actually looked in the address book (which would explain why they were buried at the bottom of the desk...). And sitting with them were my wall calendars from the past three (pre-iPhone...) years.  A real life chronicle of all the activity of my family - play dates, music lessons, school interviews, family birthdays.

These days everything is electronic for me.  And I love it.  Phone numbers, appointments, photos, all straight into my phone and reminders sent to me every day instead of bits of paper.  I even use the notebook function rather than carry a pen and pad with me.

But the real versions - the ''hard copies'' just hold more emotion somehow.  And so the address books will go back in the drawer, along with the calendars, which I'm not quite ready to put into the recycle bin just yet.   Sometimes, I just miss paper....