A Hidden Treasure

The saying goes that the pen is mightier than the sword. Of course that refers to written expression and exchanges of ideas being much more powerful in narrowing the divides between us than armed conflict. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. I’d like to paraphrase here a little and say that the pen is mightier than the computer.

Big statement! What it refers to is the fact that I prefer, when able, to write with a pen rather than with a computer. I realize that the vast majority of writers today use computers to do their writing. It’s just a lot easier. Here I use the term computers to include desktops, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. Hell, you can even talk into the machine and it writes out what you said. Sometimes with hilarious results. But there is always spellcheck. A godsend of a tool if you remember its shortcomings.

I use all of the above technology to write. But there is something special about using a pen. Maybe it’s just me. Never do I venture out without a pen in my pocket. I’ve even had to offer my own pen to numerous cashiers looking for my signature.

For the most part the pens I carry are just any old thing. Whatever I’ve been able to collect in my days roaming. There are a lot of pens used as advertising today, some of which write better than others. I pick them up everywhere. And leave them behind somewhere else. They get around. And there are some regular pens that are really just for writing. They too find their way into my pocket. And back out.

And then there are good pens. The well made, perfectly balanced and contoured to your hand pens. You know, the expensive ones. Gold, Sterling, Platinum. Handmade with rare woods and precious gemstones.  

In this category you get a choice- ballpoint or fountain tip. I have a thing for the fountain pens. You really get to connect with the pen and become part of the writing. You have to fill it with ink. And you can get a wide variety of colors. I like brown for some reason. And every part of the pen is special, from the nib to the pocket clip. And in between, the body of the instrument can be truly beautiful.

One day at a yard sale I saw a plastic baggie with several pens in it. They looked like fountain pens and for the price of a dollar I snagged them. Upon a little closer inspection I determined that they were not regular writing pens but actually calligraphy pens. Not my thing. So I put them back in the baggie and tossed them into a storage box in the basement. Months later I was going to sell the whole lot for a couple of dollars when I really took a good look. Calligraphy. Calligraphy. Whoa, what’s this!!! It was a true fountain pen. And not just any fountain pen either. This was an early example of a Parker Vacumatic. Top of the line in1933!

The pen wasn’t gold, silver or platinum. It’s celluloid. Early plastic. It’s not priceless, but its worth more than a few dollars. A great piece for a collector. Like me. And to think I almost missed it! A hidden treasure in among the pretenders. What a glorious day!

That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com


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