When Ink Was Wet and Milk Was Whole

Oct 12, 2014 | 2 comments

The Business Side of the Blotter

The Business Side of the Blotter

This morning as I was tidying up for the Poetry Reading here today, I ran across of couple of keepsakes in the secretary desk – little items that have been left in the desk by several generations. Blotters! You just don’t see those much anymore.

One is pink and advertises “Hardy’s Book Store at 961 Broadway in Oakland, California.” It doesn’t take much detective work to determine that it belonged to my grandmother. She was an inveterate reader and grew up in East Oakland out by Lake Merritt. Besides, the used side reveals her fine, spidery script (albeit backwards) that is so familiar to me.

Blotter

Blotter

Another advertises “Gile’s Golden Guernsey Dairy in Chinook, Washington – Phone 10W8.” It hasn’t been used at all but I can imagine that Al Gile gave it to my grandfather during one of their business transactions. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, too, and he and Mr. Gile went way back. In fact, if memory serves, Albion Gile was born in Oysterville and he and my grandfather were schoolmates here in the 1880s. Gile bought his family’s Chicona Farms in Chinook in 1907, seven years after my grandfather bought his own father’s ranch just south of Oysterville.

Blotter Book

Blotter Book

And then there’s the “Handy Book of Blotters” – a book of fifteen thick “Detachable Blotters” held together with two brass rivets. They are also advertised as “magnetic.” I imagine that was a way of saying they were very absorbent. The inside cover reveals that the book dates back to 1938 or 1939 – there are calendars for both those years for handy reference.

I tucked all those keepsakes back in the drawer from which they came. Even if I’m the one who ‘discovers’ them next time, I’m sure I’ll experience the same delight. It’s not every day, after all, that you see a blotter. In fact, I wonder how many young people would even know their purpose anymore.

2 Comments

  1. Louise Labby Carroll

    I suspect Gordon would have said you both gave it your all. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. You made the best decision for you both…and Osa, tough though it may have been.

    Reply
    • Louise Labby Carroll

      Sorry, this was put in the wrong entry!

      Reply

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