Anne Horrigan Geary: Accumulating paper



I’m not sure the discovery of papyrus and subsequent development of paper from other sources was such a good thing. That may sound scandalous from one who lives in the same town as the headquarters of Crane & Company, makers of fine stationery and currency paper, but I have too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter.

To open my laptop, I had to move my stack of current correspondence of the non-electronic variety along with checks, applications and other ephemera with which I must deal. I know I’m not the most organized person on the planet, but there are some pieces of paper with which I cannot part or keep tamed within defined boundaries. I store printed copies of all my writing as well as computer back-ups. I save newspaper obituaries in my genealogy binder, and I hoard musical greeting cards, to name a few.

Recently, I cleaned out my two-drawer wooden filing cabinet and was able to part with bank deposit receipts from the ‘70s and ‘80s as well as teacher observations and contracts from the ‘90s and aughts. I call that progress! Now I have a few empty file folders in which to put this year’s bank deposit slips, statements, and pay stubs.

Under my work table is a blue plastic crate full of craft papers, mostly patterns and directions for the thousand quilts I have yet to make, and the enticing other projects I may get to if I can top Methuselah’s longevity. I recently weeded out a few -- but soon replaced them with more. I don’t trust just bookmarking items on my computer favorites’ list; I print them out, often in multiple copies thanks to a temperamental printer.

As a regular customer at the Dalton CRA’s Crane paper sale in August, I have one office closet dedicated to paper and envelopes. I have enough Christmas cards to send individual cards to every member of Congress and some of their staff. Although I use much of the paper in craft projects, I always buy more because it’s just so darn beautiful and economically priced. Even sharing boxes with friends and family barely makes a dent in my supply.

Then there are the sheaves of paper bound between covers which we call books. When it comes to buying books, especially books of poetry and bargain books, I am a hopeless consumer. Yes, I have an electronic reading device, but I still like to sit by the window with a hardbound copy of a current mystery novel and spend a few exciting hours in the company of determined gumshoes and hapless criminals.

I’ve seen clever ideas in do-it-yourself magazines for using books as the supports of chair-side tables. I could provide supports for each seat in the Beacon theater if it didn’t already have places for me to store my junior mints. My usual solution to having filled a bookcase to overflowing is not to discard books (how can libraries do that?), but to simply search yard sales and thrift shops for more bookcases.

What is there about paper that makes it so attractive? I like the feel of it, especially the heavier, cream-colored stock I use to make greeting cards. It’s smooth and clean, open to all sorts of script and decoration.

I love writing on this paper with my stash of calligraphy pens to make cards for special occasions. I also decorate them with favorite flower photographs to create minor works of art. Paper is available now in so many tints and hues that I’m sure it’s possible to craft a perfect paper rainbow. I use pale green printer paper and bordered sheets for holidays.

Someday, paper may be a relic of the past, but I’m doing my part to preserve and enjoy it.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.


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