The Pencil Eulogy

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In preparation for graduate school in 2002, I took a six-week summer class on statistics. I purchased a special notebook for the class as well as a mechanical pencil bought solely for the purpose of homework (As an office supply junkie, I love any reason to purchase pens and notebooks). Once the class was over, I continued to use the same pencil when the two-year graduate program began that August.

It’s a green pencil with a twist top eraser. The label says Sanford and the lead size is .05.

In 2002 I was 40 years old. For my birthday we went to Mexico in February with a group of friends and enjoyed the blue Caribbean waters and the white, cool, sandy beaches. It is now 18 years later. I’m 58. We still hang around with the same group of friends. And I still have that pencil. I probably have a lot of the same pens I had then, or a few anyway. If you didn’t know me already, I’m a bit of a pen enthusiast.

I have a lot of pens and pencils (markers and colored pencils too). I like certain pens for taking notes; certain pens for making lists; certain pens for writing letters; certain pens for doodling; certain pens for carrying in my purse and possibly loaning to others.

The green mechanical pencil from 2002 wasn’t kept on purpose as a keepsake and it wasn’t hidden away. It was stored along with other pens and pencils, alternating between a pencil cup and a pencil box (sometimes a desk drawer). Every time I look at it or pick it up, I am taken back to statistics class in the summer of 2002.

You would possibly expect this type of memorializing of a writing instrument to be dedicated to a pen or pencil that was gifted to you or that cost over $70. Not a ubiquitous pencil found at the local office supply store or Target costing less than $10. What can I say? This pencil got me through graduate school and then some. And now, when I look at it, when I pick it up, I can feel that history.

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Hello! I love all things stationery, papery, epistolary including planners, office supplies, mail, postcards, doodles, desks and organization, postage stamps and mail art.


  1. Hester on August 25, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Jackie

    Lovely story My pen story is about a lead pencil that was given to me at the end of construction project. Every other week, all project managers meet in a basement office for at least an hour There was one guy that was always there with the same red pental At the last meeting I had to ask him about it. He said at the beginning of every new project he buys a new one and keeps it for the entire project. He gave it to me because he said I would take care of it. I was thrilled and still have it today The project was the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge

  2. Jackie Flaherty on August 25, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    What a lovely and memorable story! Thanks for sharing! I like he had a system for regularly updating his pen/pencil collection.Very nice!

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