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Old as Dirt

January 23rd, 2012

Every now and then I reach into the junk drawer in the kitchen for a pencil, which doesn’t happen very often. I don’t like to use pencils being more of a cheap bic pen person. This pencil shows you exactly how little I use a pencil:

Yes, I got this pencil in 1990 when the census representative stopped by our house; I was 14 years old. The pencil has never been sharpened, still sporting the original short point and the eraser has barely been used. I guess it’s not as old as dirt, but it’s pretty old for a pencil!

For some reason I distinctly remember the day when this pencil appeared in my life, but I have no idea how it’s stuck around for 21 years. It’s not that I particularly like this pencil or keep it around for a specific reason, somehow it has just moved through life with me.

I’m not really a sentimental person and I don’t place much value on things, so I don’t have objects around the house that I’ve saved for that reason. Of seemingly weird trinkets from my youth, I also have this tiny blue cow eraser that I got in the 3rd grade when the dairy association came to our school to promote how healthy milk was.

No doubt this census pencil will remain in my home for many more years and I’ll chuckle every time I reach into my junk drawer and pull out the pencil. I won’t be sad when it’s finally gone or lost, but I sure enjoy seeing it surface every now and then! It’s funny how something as insignificant as a pencil or an eraser can float in and out of our lives for many years, not having any value but somehow carrying a few memories with it. Every time I see this pencil I can hear the doorbell ringing at our old house on Metzger Ave. in Rittman, OH and I remember seeing the census representative handing me a clipboard with this pencil.

Do you have any items like this in your house, insignificant items that seem to stick around?

16 Comments to “Old as Dirt”
  1. Rocky Top Farm on January 23, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I just wish I was a little less sentimental! It is mainly with things that my boys make, etc. I would love someone to come to my house and help me part with some of those things. I am not overboard, just on my quest to live as simply as possible! And my junk drawer is a spooky place! Lots of good stuff for leprechaun traps.

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  2. kristin @ going country on January 23, 2012 at 7:41 am

    We have them from three generations back, random junk turning up in drawers all over the place. Of course, it doesn’t have any meaning to me, this not being my family, and most of it probably only has an association to the person who stuck it in the drawer fifty years ago. But somehow, we STILL can’t throw it away.

    Sometimes I curse living with sentimental packrats.

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  3. daisy on January 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    That lil’ cow is adorable! It’s funny how certain things stay with us.
    I have a Topo Gigio coin purse I got when I was young. He was a character on the Ed Sullivan show back in the day. I have no idea why I’ve kept it, I don’t have any memory of receiving it. Ah well, there it is…

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  4. Andrea Duke on January 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Love the eraser!

    I will have to make sure to keep a few more things like that around for my son to have when he is older. I am really bad about getting rid of things! I think my neighbors think of me as a garage sale queen b/c I have 1-2 every year and they always do well.

    However, I have gotten better at keeping things that have been given to me by my Grandparents and these days most of the things in my home are things I really like or sentimental.

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  5. Allison on January 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I totally remember those cow erasers!

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  6. Sincerely, Emily on January 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Oh Man! My husband and I are both pack rats! I am working to declutter, but it will be a life long process (HA!) I am VERY sentimental about “things.” I do not want to live in a house that is extremely clean and sparse – that is not me at all. I love to be surrounded by things from my grandparents and parents. Things full of memories, so our house is well lived in (and cluttered too!)

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

    • Susy on January 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      I’m with you on the too stark & sparse, I like a little clutter – but too much annoys me.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. K.B. on January 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I love that eraser! I’ve limited my “collection” to what can fit in a small tote, and it contains mostly toys – either mine or my Dad’s.

    One thing that isn’t a toy, and I can’t bring myself to throw out, no matter how useless it is, is my grandmother’s small Mackintosh toffee hammer. I’ve never used it, will never use it, never even seen it used, but….

    Reply to K.B.'s comment

  8. Katelyn Faye on January 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    When my dad married my mum she inherited a great deal of stuff from his big family, but our favorite is The Naked Lady, which is exactly what it sounds like, and also a bottle opener. We keep her for sentimental reasons, and so we can say “where’s the naked lady” when company’s over.

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  9. Nebraska Dave on January 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Susy, my biggest find was when I decided to clean out an area of the basement to build a food storage area. I had old shelving that the previous owner of the house had built almost 30 years ago. When I moved in the shelves were filled with stuff. You know the stuff you are always going to sort through but never get to it. One of the buried things I found was my first guitar that was a Christmas present at 12 years old. I gave it to a friend to cleanup, re string, and in general bring back to a useable condition. Amazingly, it still plays quite well. Lots of memories are connected to the guitar. It’s one of those keep sakes that will be kept all my life.

    Have a great day.

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  10. Marcia on January 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Years ago, my mom had pencils made with “You are a ray of sunshine“ printed on them. I still have one in the basket of papers and pens near my phone and whenever I come up with it I smile. Then I call my mom.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  11. Bertie on January 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Me too! I still have one of those cow erasers! I’m not sure if mine is blue, though. I’ll have to look around and see where it is. I think I got mine at the fair. It was a long time ago. Glad to see I’m not the only one who saves weird stuff like that. :)

    Reply to Bertie's comment

    • Susy on January 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      That’s too funny to meet someone with the same eraser – bet you got it at the “Milk it does a body good” booth!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. KimH on January 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Yeah, I have too much worthless stuff hanging around too.. I’ve been paring it down but some of it just refuses to leave. ;)

    I love pencils.. and I love pens.. always have.. Im a pen & pencil hoarder.. I really am. I cant resist them, and never could.. I have all sorts of containers filled with pens & pencils.. and some markers & highlighters too.
    Maybe Im an addict instead of a hoarder.. I do use them.. Is there a difference? ;)

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  13. itchbay on January 24, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I have a little pink toy turtle that my boyfriend brought home for me after doing one of his runs along the creek trail network in town. A couple of years later, when we were in the market for a home, we made sure to get a house along the trail, so we could continue running on our favorite spots. The house we wound up getting had been a private preschool for years, and is likely the source of the original toy turtle (we find all kinds of toys around the yard and even on the other side of the fence, along the creek). I like the serendipity of now living in the house where the turtle used to live.

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  14. Bethany on February 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I know this post was from 2 years ago, but I stumbled upon it while telling my co-workers about a box of 1990 census pencils we always had sitting around the house growing up. To this day you can still find these pencils in random places at my parent’s house. My mom made me use them at school, and I always worried about using the No. 2 2/4 lead on scantrons, since they weren’t actual No 2’s. LOL Thanks for the memories!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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