Sometime c. 1984, give or take, I was working in the University of Chicago Sociology Department’s new computer center. And while I was in there, I noticed a small pencil sharpener (anyone remember pencils?) that had been abandoned.
I’d like to think that I later asked around about it, but I likely didn’t. It’s just a little brass cone, about an inch or so long, made in Germany (well, West Germany in those days). I was cleaning up some stuff recently and I came across it. Still works.
It’s funny how we have things in our lives that travel along with us. That sharpener has been in (at least) Chicago, multiple residences in Schenectady, multiples in La Crosse, multiples in New Haven. And I still have it.
There are larger things that I can trace more easily–I still have (and play) a guitar that I’ve owned since the late ’70s. But a pencil sharpener is something smaller, less treasured and less obvious.
Years ago, Jules and the Polar Bears asked a musical question: