Picture this; it is late August, it is your birthday, you have just opened a birthday card from your godmother and a crisp ten pound note has just fallen out onto your lap. School is about to start and you have in your possession the means to buy what ever pencils, pens, heart-shaped erasers and colourful pencil-sharpeners that your little heart could desire. This was pure delight to me as a little girl.
My mother used to bring my siblings and me into Roches Stores (which sadly no longer exists) on
before school started in September so we could get our school supplies. I
remember these times so well. There seemed to be shelf after shelf of regular
pencils, colouring pencils, and markers in packets of 12, 24 or 36, all the
bright colours lined up according to shade, fresh and pristine, begging to be
used. There were erasers shaped like
puppies and kittens, rainbows and flowers, some even shaped-like and
smelling-like ice-cream cones. Dublin
I loved being able to buy a new pencil case, after all, last years model was probably looking a little grey and dusty after a full school year of pencil parings and homework exercises. I valued practicality and prettiness in a pencil case; something that hasn’t changed to this day. Oh! Maybe I will make a pencil case for myself, a project for another day perhaps.
There was a section both my sister and I valued greatly; the ‘Fancy’ paper section or just ‘Fancy’ as my sister called it. These were small, medium and large notepads with decorative images on them and some were even fragranced. Again I can remember puppies and kittens were popular motifs. There were also very eighties illustrations of young girls on roller skates. The point of ‘Fancy’ was NOT to write notes on it or draw pictures on it, oh no, that would be sacrilege. The point was to own it, collect it, admire it, sort it and swap it. ‘Fancy’ was valuable eighties girl currency. My sister had an excellent collection; it was coveted by me and our friends. These sweetly smelling notepads of paper brought great delight to us in a time when we could naturally appreciate innocent and simple pleasure.
I still get a thrill in stationery departments and shops. My current stationery crushes are Paperchase in Arnotts on
Street, Muji on Chatham Street and Evans Art Supplies on Meeting House Lane.
Stationery shops have a similar effect on me as haberdasheries; calming,
inspiring and with an undercurrent of excitement. I get demented trying to make
my choice for that days need and I have a deep longing to own every notebook,
every coloured pen and every box of pencils in front of me.