Finding something that you know will give somebody else a great deal of pleasure is a smiley moment. Nothing is the same as watching the other person’s eyes widen. Their look of immediate disbelief dissolves as you hand it to them and they receive it with a huge grin on their face.
I decided to sort through my archive box yesterday; school projects, old passports, postcards and sew-on badges from all over Europe, wedding cards, my BA thesis, my ‘Man From Uncle’ secret agent card, a roller skate adjustment key, my army captain’s shoulder pips, my French business school papers, a number puzzle, letters from my mother and my then fiancé, my son’s baby hospital tag, newspaper cuttings, diaries.
My reactions ranged from embarrassment, laughter and sadness. I was deeply moved by some of the letters, but wondered why the hell I’d kept some other things. Definitely a series of Proust’s ‘madeleine moments’…
Folded in between the diaries, I found a slim stationery catalogue punched with six holes near the spine. It was no. 137, issued by Norman & Hill Ltd of 16 Newgate Street. London EC1 who sold Lefax, Filofax and Cardref systems. I recognised it from the time I had run my father’s antiques business. We had purchased some items from an estate and inside a drawer were stationery items, including a small ring binder with inserts. I have no idea what happened to the binder, but my historical genes wouldn’t let me throw the catalogue out. It was a fascinating insight into how people organised their business and family events and records. And it made a connection to my Filofax which, like everybody then, contained my life.
Finding it in this box now let me remember the original fascination I had with it then. A little message from history, like Christmas cake-making I blogged about in November.
But the pleasure of my husband’s face now was even better. You see, he is the king of the world Filofax community (www.philofaxy.com).