Sunday, March 9, 2008

Charming or Weird? You Choose!

When my father of blessed memory died in 1998, I inherited the home office supplies he bought in bulk quantities. Woohoo! I still have two boxes of 5,000 Swingline standard staples. The reams of paper went pretty quickly -- all except one double-ream box of 100% rag that I held onto for practical and sentimental purposes.

Practically speaking, it only stopped reeking of cigarettes in the past year or so. Plus, 100% rag, even malodorous and yellowed, always seemed too substantial to use as scrap paper; too scuzzy to allow out of my home office. At some point last year I started using it.

The box's label has had enduring sentimental value. It's stamped "Bozell & Jacobs, Inc.," which students of advertising and public relations history will recognize represents an earlier incarnation of what would be come Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon, & Eckhardt, and then Bozell Worldwide in the 1990s. My father freelanced for a B&J outpost in Union, NJ.

Below the B&J name (set in a font no one uses anymore) my father had boldly written in black marker: 100% RAG WHITE. Clearly, this had been written long before his printing would deteriorate into a wobbly scrawl.

Last week, I discovered that I'd finally used up the paper. I have not yet been able to toss the unfolded corrugated cardboard box into recycling. I've been hanging onto it like it's a third class relic. I think I'll eventually use pieces of it to protect my books when wrapping them up for shipping.

In any event, I was going to keep the label, but then realized I was being ridiculous. After all, I still have on a bookshelf in my office the business card box filled with my share of his ashes. Charming? Weird? I can't decide.


  1. I vote "charming." My maternal grandmother was very stylish and loved to shop. While cleaning out her things after her death, I kept her Filenes Dept. Store credit card, with her signature on the back. Not only has the card long-expired, the store has, too.

  2. Isn't it amazing what gets assigned sentimental value? You could probably sell that Filenes card on e-bay and pay off your mortgage w/the proceeds!

  3. I have a tired yellowed magazine cut-out picture of Jesus and a roughly hand sewn sewing needle book with two needles in it both of which belonged to my maternal grandmother. My mother has her pot of rouge.
    I don't think any of this is weird, it's charming and you know what, I'm going to go look at my relics right now!
    Thanks for reminding me.


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