Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Secretary Files: A Treasure Trove

A lady in my office recently retired. She'd been working with this establishment for a good 30 years. She is smart, capable and shrewd. She has amazing, age-defying skin. And she has a beehive hairstyle. I'm not making this up. You know how sometimes people are really averse to change and they keep the same hairstyle for decades? Maybe it's the hairstyle they wore when they were happiest or felt the prettiest or maybe they're just scared to try something new. You see this phenomenon often with '80s hair, but '60s? Not quite as common. In any case, she has a full blown beehive and she's had it for most, if not all of her adult life.

Apparently her tightly woven connection to the past goes beyond her hair. As she was cleaning out her office, which she occupied for more years than I know, she would bring out boxes of office supplies that she'd uncovered from the deepest, darkest corners of her desk drawers. I was to go through the boxes and decide what to keep and what to toss. I didn't realize that I'd be delving into a smorgasbord of historical office supply artifacts.

A date stamp. Let's take a closer look shall we?

Notice the earliest year on that second to top line there. It says "1979" in case you couldn't see it. What the?! That date stamp is 6 years older than me! It was in first grade learning to read when I was born! Weird!

Paper clips. Oh wait! I'm sorry. Gem clips. Whatever, dude.

These are General's Kwik-Rite (that's a play on "quick write" if I'm not mistaken) fine tip markers. The felt tips have long since dried up and turned to dust, but I gather from the bullet points that they were once exceptional pens. Mae thae wrest inn piece.

This is my personal favorite. Solid head thumb tacks. Check out that catch phrase! "A good head for safety"! That's good advertising for you. Clever, compelling and concerned. That little white oval on the side says "Money Back Guaranteed If Not Satisfied". That really shows how confident they are in their product. I know how hellaciously picky people can be about their thumb tacks. Hold on. Let's zoom in on the top left. This is the best part.

I can't say exactly how old this box is by looking at this picture, but I'm going to go with really old. Like the '50s old. How does a box of thumb tacks survive this long? I think the quality of the product combined with the adorableness of this fabulously curvy, big-hatted, tight-jumpered girl-under-a-thumb-tack clip art saved it from being thrown away for generations. It has survived through moves and personnel changes and who knows what else! I plan to keep it in my desk drawer until the next person comes along, and hopefully they'll see its merits as well. Long live the thumb tack girl!

Finally, I give you this awesome gigantic paper clip! Oh wait! I'm sorry. Gem clip. I have no idea how old it is. Probably not old at all. It's just big and cool! It's depicted here with a pen to show scale. You could clip a book with this thing!

It was hard to see a person I had worked with and grown rather fond of leave. But finding these treasures made it a little sweeter.


  1. Excellent post! Also, you should keep all of those things and make a really cool display. Don't leave them to be discarded by the unimaginative!

  2. AMAZING!!!! this might be the best post yet. It makes me want to dress you up in "how to succeed in business" attire and do a classic photo shoot with your retro mod supplies.

    This. must. happen.

  3. Gem Clips? Pretty fascinating stuff.

  4. These are so awesome!! I want to be the thumb tack girl for Halloween.