Desk excavation – SoCS

Like many people, I set aside things in various places in my home, including desk drawers.

My daughter is about to head to grad school and, for the first time, will be moving into an unfurnished house. We had an old desk, which has been in our basement since we moved to this house in 1988. The drawers were hard to open, as it is a bit damp in the basement despite the dehumidifier, so we brought it upstairs yesterday and started going through its contents. Well, the contents we could reach.

Several drawers were able to be jiggled enough to take out of the desk totally. Others could be opened a bit so that some contents could be pulled out.

Here are some things we found:

Lots of stamps. A few blocks of four because my father-in-law, and by extension, my husband, used to collect stamps. There was also a huge envelope of cancelled stamps, with more scattered about. I am setting them aside for one of the members of my spirituality class who collects stamps. I’s sure she will be thrilled at a trove of older stamps.

Various  desk supplies. Some of the tape is dried out and unusable, but a lot of the other things will still be able to go with current stocks. Other than I don’t think I will ever use a whole box of thumb tacks.

Included in the desk supply category is lots of pens and pencils. Some of the pens had dried out, but others were still good. There were some that related to my dad’s company, New England Power, which doesn’t exist any more. Some commemorated how many hours they had gone without a lost time accident. Up into the millions. I think it got up to over four million before the string was broken. Fortunately, it was after my dad had retired, so not on his watch as superintendent.

Neat boxes of colored pencils, including one from my childhood that my mom had carefully covered with contact paper for strength and durability and which I had then decorated with my name, the letters scattered about on the contact paper flowers.

One of our wedding invitations from 1982, done the old-fashioned way, with my parents issuing the invitation and taking the replies. Double envelopes, tissue paper insert, the whole nine yards, aside from the engraving. We used thermography, which was acceptable etiquette-wise but a bit less expensive.

A letter I wrote to my husband when we were in college, which I did not read – yet. My husband’s high school yearbook photo in a frame, which I had had in my room when I was away at college.

A homemade Valentine, featuring tracings of our older daughter’s then-tiny hands.

Two small organ pipes and a piano hammer – a stack of programs from my senior organ recital – all remnants of my (former) musical life.

A folded, somewhat tattered drawing of a Viking ship that my husband had done in elementary school. I swear that I have no recollection of having ever seen this before.

An article about apple computers that my father-in-law sent to use from a magazine, back in the days when we were the proud owners of an apple 2c and no one thought we would ever need more than 128k.

Computer programming stuff. A book on Pascal with notebook papers inserted with my attempts at learning to program written out. Some notes of my husband’s, who actually can program, from his college days. Operating systems course. Some notes from courses he took at the Watson School of Engineering at SUNY-Binghamton early in his career, when he was at Link for 8 years before moving to IBM. A computer printout of code for a Star Trek game.

Visible but not yet able to be extracted from its drawer, my cassette player from childhood, which we could still use early in our marriage, when tapes were the main way to have music that travelled with you.

A viewer for slides, so that you could look at them without having to haul out the projector and screen.

The desk itself was in the first house we bought. It had only had one owner. The husband had died and the wife was sinking into dementia when the house was sold to help pay for her care. We could buy some of the furniture and needed a desk, so we bought this one. Wood veneer with drawers on each side, including a deep file drawer on each bank. Very sturdily made with dovetailed drawers, decorative metal drawer pulls, and some decorative details around the edges of the desk top. Dark finish.

We used it for the six years we lived in that little two bedroom house, as a desk, as storage space, and as a home for the aforementioned apple 2c. When we moved to our current house, it moved into the basement/family room, which has over time morphed into just a basement. I used things from it for a while, but it hadn’t been opened in many years when we started dealing with it yesterday. We think we can sand the drawers to make it usable in our daughter’s new place.

For now, it is an inadvertent time capsule.

Part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday with the prompt “side” which became set a”side” for this post.

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

13 thoughts on “Desk excavation – SoCS”

    1. Yes! It’s especially fun to share them with our younger daughter as she prepares to move out for grad school in a few weeks. Everything in the desk dates from before she was born – some of it much before.


    1. It has been amazing. I admit that, even though it is SoCS, I did go back into the post to add in a few more recovered treasures. We’ve finally managed to get all the drawers open and removed.


  1. What good memories to find! Nice of you to share the details with us — I fondly remember that computer line from Apple! I think it’s also great you’re giving some of your finds to others, like those stamps. I wish your daughter all the best with grad school and her move; may she now be the next generation to create good memories with that desk in her new place!


  2. What an adventure! Talk about a trip down memory lane! It sounds like it was lots of fun, and you got the desk cleaned out so that it can contribute to some new memories for your daughter. Wishing her the best in grad school. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much! She is in environmental sciences and will be getting her master’s in conservation biology. Re-using is definitely part of our family’s environmental mindset.


  3. Wow, what a great post! It’s amazing the things you can find in places which get forgotten. For me it’s usually a handful of old tissues in a coat pocket. 😛 Haha.
    Thanks so much for sharing your treasures!


    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Thankfully, we didn’t unearth anything unsavory, like remnants of a mouse nest. I can relate to tissues in pockets, too, except I ususally don’t discover them until I have shredded them in the washer.


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