I entered college in 1986.

My parents bought me an electric typewriter (Brother brand) to take to college. It had a rudimentary word processing feature with a one-line digital display. Who knew how soon the typing world would change? Not us.

I don’t know what happened to that typewriter. It would not surprise me to learn that it lives at my childhood home, in my parents’ Laura Hall of Fame. It would also not surprise me to learn that it is not in the Hall of Fame. Very little can surprise me now.

How about you? Can you be surprised?

Are you surprised to learn that I have in my office a set of colored pencils that I bought in 1986? Probably not.

In December, I took my direct reports out for an end-of-year lunch. One member of the team joined but couldn’t eat. Being the Mama Bear that I am, I brought a coloring book and the pencils. I wondered out loud whether the pencils were older than any of my lunch companions. Yes, one of them. Not surprised.

The pencils were a required purchase for an evolution class I took my first semester in college. One of the texts was a coloring book. Here is a phrase I remember from that class: “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” And I also remember that that fancy sentence was a disproven idea. I was not surprised to be learning big words in college. I was not surprised to have to look up the spelling of the big words in 2023!

Since the December lunch, I’ve been thinking about what has traveled with me since 1986. Here’s another artifact from 1986 that I use regularly.

This was a Christmas gift from the friend I have written about on this blog as The [Halloween] Scarecrow. I have a complicated relationship with this mug. Are you surprised that I can have a complicated relationship with a mug? No, no you are not.

First, there is the issue of grammar. Shouldn’t it be “If only I WERE”? (Sue, Bonnie, what say you? Or other grammarians out there?)

Second, what did I think about the saying in 1986? Did I think I was beautiful? Did I want to be rich? And what about now? If she got me a mug today, would it say “If only I were beautiful instead of rich”?! (Relatively speaking, of course.) I do not have answers to any of those questions.

But I do have a smile from reminiscing!

p.s. There was one thing I did in 1986 that was much more forward-looking than my typing choices. I abstained from the stylish big hair of the decade. Now that is a real reason to smile.

8 Comment

  1. DH says: Reply

    You would look great with big hair!

  2. Christina Galante says: Reply

    I would love to read a blog post about the Laura Hall of Fame in your mom’s house! I’m sure it’s filled with some amazing items. Your 2023 coffee mug should read “Beautiful, Accomplished & Rich”!

    1. laurakornish says: Reply

      I can think of some other words for the mug, but I’ll take your three adjectives any day!

      On the Hall of Fame: 15 years ago, when we had moved to our CO house, and after much reminding/nagging, I removed the “stuff” that was mine from my parents’ house. Anything that was left (letterman’s jacket, prom dress, stamp collection, sundry award plaques), I told my parents they could toss. But they didn’t. You never know when you are going to need a full length taffeta dress, or cancelled U.S. Bicentennial commemorative stamp, or an Academic Decathlon award.

  3. Barbara Bertin says: Reply

    I am smiling. Learn something new about you all the time. BDB

  4. Michael Bertin says: Reply

    I can speak authoritatively about the typewriter in the Laura Hall of Fame — it did indeed live on here for a number of years in a closet in the room I use for an office. But one day, during a sporadic “big tidy up” it went down to the trash bins in the garage. Sic transit gloria mundi … signed “Father of the beautiful, accomplished, and rich one.

  5. Bonnie says: Reply

    Yes, it should be the subjunctive–“If I were.” But the subjunctive in English has been dying a long, slow death. Not so in Spanish or French!

    1. laurakornish says: Reply

      Thank you, Bonnie!

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