SoCS: Aunt Dot’s desk

Beside me when I read this prompt was a maple desk. It is part of a bedroom suite that once belonged to B’s Aunt Dot. Actually, Great-Aunt Dot. B only had one aunt, but he had a bunch of great-aunts, several of whom lived close by enough that he saw them often when he was growing up. Because we were high-school sweethearts, I also had the privilege of getting to know them.

Aunt Dot had lived with B’s mom and her parents and grandmother when B’s mom was young. When I met her, she was still living with B’s grandfather, who was by then a widower. She was retired from Sprague Electric and knew one of my aunts who worked there.

Aunt Dot loved to travel. I remember there being many souvenirs in B’s home that she had brought back from trips in the US and Europe.

She was also a force to be recognized with! She was a no-nonsense sort who had her own ways of thinking about and doing things and didn’t really feel compelled to change them – thank you very much! She was good-hearted and generous, though, and a good caretaker. Though she had never had her own family, she was certainly used to family life in a multi-generational household.

When she was in her 70s, she developed liver cancer. She was ill when I was pregnant with my first child. She bought a teddy bear as an early gift for the baby. He had a tam and scarf in tartan and was named Angus. E was born on April 6, a bit earlier than expected. By then, Aunt Dot was in a skilled nursing facility because she was so ill. She passed away on April 29, E’s original due date. I remember thinking at the time that maybe E had arrived early so that Aunt Dot would know that she had a new great-great-niece before she died.

For many years, Angus lived on a shelf in E’s room. When a pregnant E moved home while waiting for her spousal visa to come through, B and I moved into E’s old room upstairs, so that E could be on the first floor near what would be the baby’s room. Given that E’s old room was still outfitted with a twin bed, we needed to have a double bed. We moved Aunt Dot’s maple bedroom suite into E’s old room. It had come to us via B’s mom who had inherited it and was using it until she had passed away. It has a double bed, a tall dresser, and a desk with drawers. I use the desk for storage and as a nightstand.

See, I did eventually stream-of-consciousness myself back to object that started this whole thing…

With E and ABC now in the UK, B and I will eventually reclaim the downstairs master bedroom. We want to do some re-decorating before we move back in, so we had delayed moving in. It’s just as well because it has now been re-purposed as B’s workspace during the coronavirus shutdown. We have the feeling it will be his office for months, so I think it will be a long time before Aunt Dot’s maple bedroom suite becomes available for guests.
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is to write about whatever was beside you when you first read the prompt. Please join the fun! Find out how here:

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley!

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.

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