The New Secretary

It started innocently enough. On a daily walk with the dog, I passed a neighbor’s house and noticed a desk in his driveway.

“What’s the story with this desk?” I asked.

“You mean the secretary? I’m selling it. It came with the house when I bought it years ago, and now I want to put something else in the space where it was.”

“Well, I’m interested. How much?”

“A hundred bucks. It has some damage and needs to be refinished, but it’s in good shape.”

I asked for a tape measure and repeated the desk’s dimensions over and over to hold onto the numbers until I got home. When I measured the space with my current writing desk (a “student desk” left behind by my son when he went to college), I discovered “the secretary” would fit just fine. On the next trip past my neighbor’s house, I left a note: “I’ll take it.”

Later that day, the Naked Hiker and I picked up the secretary and lugged it upstairs to my writing space. We scooted the old desk out and slid the new one in its place. 

The old desk

After dusting and a little elbow grease and “Murphy’s Oil Soap Household Cleaner,” I thought the secretary looked just fine. I happen to like the few nicks and scratches; makes me think this beauty was well-used and loved.

The new secretary

Turns out, she’s also quite versatile and able to adapt to modern technology. The drawers and slots work well to hold Post-its, ear buds, charging cords, and thumb drives. Her desk surface slides out to accommodate my laptop. Best of all, with just a few easy moves, I can unfold a lid that makes a space just right for my standing desk.

The old student desk? It’s found a new home with a county park employee.

I love my blend of modern and almost-antique. It’s consistent with my use of both handbound journals (that I make myself) and my i-Phone 7 for note-taking.  And with my adoration of manual typewriters AND my sleek, shiny, MacBook Air. Well-loved hard cover books as well as digital versions. 

Sitting at my new secretary this morning, an email from John Yunker at Ashland Creek Press alerted me that June 23 is National Typewriter Day. John’s e-newsletter also included this delightful video. I think John is a kindred spirit when it comes to appreciating the old and the new.

How about you? Do you treasure the old along with the new?


  1. Well that’s something you don’t see every day, and a cool table too! I’ve been meaning to get into typewriters, but have no idea where to start, especially since I live in Malaysia where there’s so few of them. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hahaha! Knowing the topics of your blog recently, I was expecting “The New Secretary” to be about Deb Haaland of the Interior Dept. But this post charmed me despite its lack of politics–or perhaps because of it. Write on, write on!

    1. Thanks, Gretchen. Yep, it’s good to take a break from the heavy stuff sometimes. But thank goodness Deb Haaland is working harder than ever for environmental justice.

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