Lately I’ve been cleaning out my grandmother’s desk. It’s an old drop front secretary style with a hutch and niches and cubbies and even a secret drawer or two. Of all the remnants of her life, this is the one piece of furniture she insisted I take.
It was a hassle I didn’t relish, finding a mover to haul it from California to the Carolinas, and I admit I considered ignoring her final wishes. But there it was, in a will with only six key points: the desk was to come to me.
So like a good granddaughter, I had it shipped home. And I parked it in a vastly ignored corner of the house, hired a locksmith to open the dropdown none of us could crack with pin or skeleton key and continued to ignore it for the better part of a year.
Oh, I dusted it, but really, it just sat here – a lonely reminder of an amazing woman. Now that I can approach it without tearing up, I’ve gone spelunking through the nooks, cranies, and yes, even the secret drawers. (this is a very cool desk!) What I’ve found has been enlightening, fun, and sigh-worthy.
The more I dig, the more I realize how much I am like her: saving bits and pieces, notes and business cards from my days and people I meet. I too stash picture hangars and paperclips in odd places. Not to mention the abundance of pens and pencils in varying styles and colors.
My adventures have wrought laughs as well as sighs. There’s a business card from the producer of the Johnny Carson show – I vaguely remember how she knew him. There’s the cut out pictures of both her driver license and Grandpa’s too. Why? Well, Grandma had a reason that made sense to her and that’s good enough for me.
And this post wouldn’t be complete if I failed to mention the pencil with a handmade penguin on top sporting a bright yellow scarf. It’s at least a decade old and was in a place of honor: a 50 year old recycled jam jar.
I sighed when I found four boxes of staples. She bought enough (on a sale) to last the rest of her life (and probably mine too).
When I found the first secret drawer, I found a note I should’ve had when we were cleaning out her apartment and I’m so hoping that I saved the extremely rare and special artwork the note referenced.
It’s fascinating what she tucked away in here. Some things irreplaceable, others (address books and receipts) in triplicate. Why throw away perfectly good pencils with the logo of the realty company she owned sixty years ago?
Each drawer is a microcosm of fragments she thought might be useful down the road. In essence it’s the backstory of her habits and tendencies that I see echoed in myself two generations later.
And it’s making for some fabulous progress as I build my paranormal romance worlds and stories – right here at the desk she insisted I take from her life into my own.
Live the adventure!