August is the traditional month to return to school, so some of my friends have been pretty busy getting their children and grandchildren settled. One friend commented about buying an electric pencil sharpener for the kids. I immediately said that was a sign of wealth and she laughed knowing just what I meant.
Back in the day before electric pencil sharpeners existed (or at least were unavailable in the hollow), we never seemed to have a little manual sharpener. So, if you weren't lucky enough to be in school when that pencil lead wore down, the pocket knife came out. I always, always hated pencils sharpened with a knife. It told everyone we couldn't afford a pencil sharpener. The next school day, I would immediately sharpen all my pencils with the lovely pencil sharpener attached either to the wall or the teacher's desk. Sometimes it would be full of shavings, and I'd be lucky enough to get to empty it.
I probably should be in therapy because this helped lead to a life-long love of office supplies. Even if I don't need them, I love to browse the office supply isle in search of new things. Over the years, I developed a love of new ink pens. One of my former employers used to come into my office to sign checks I had written. He loved to walk off with my new ink pens. I finally got wise, and started ordering him his own personal box of perferred pens so he'd leave mine alone!
It's funny the little things that we remember from childhood. I know there were much bigger things going on in my life at the time, but I still remember those knife sharpened pencils. And, I still associate that with being poor. So, any pencil sharpener, especially an electric one, is a sign of wealth to me. It seems like such a little thing now and I have to wonder what this generation will think of as wealth in the years to follow.