Yesterday morning, one of my best friends in the world sent me a text telling me that she was cleaning out her pen drawer and came across a piece of immortality:
Yes, that’s a pen with my parents’ names and home phone number on it.
Don’t fret, I’m not exposing them. They have both passed away, and that number is no longer in service. But it’s a nice piece of nostalgia on many levels. My mom’s birthday was on Saturday, so she was already on my mind. It’s a relic from a time when the telephone was our best means of instant connection with one another. And having these made was just soooooo quintessentially my father.
Bob Kidwell was here.
My dad loved having his name on things. Pens, pencils, notepads, calendars – wall and pocket versions. He loved putting our names on things. I still have a few #2 pencils emblazoned with MARGARET MARY KIDWELL around here somewhere. He ordered them for me when I was in college. He knew I hated filling in those little circles, and I suppose he was afraid I’d forget my own name amidst the test anxiety.
When I showed the picture of the pen to Fodder, he commented that it was my dad’s bid at immorality. And I don’t think he’s far off the mark.
Twenty+ years later, they are still turning up in pen drawers.
He left behind seven children – five of them boys destined to carry on the family name – and enough custom-printed stationary items to last decades beyond his passing.
Way to go, Daddy!
Many authors have pens, notepads, and other swag imprinted with their name and brand. Other than the bookmarks I had printed once, but haven’t gone much beyond that. My books are my bid at immortality. I wrote them and put them out into the world. After I am gone, they will be like the pens my dad left behind.
Margaret Kidwell Ethridge (aka Maggie Wells) was here.
They may end up out of print, but there will likely be the random paper copy floating around a used book store or flea markets. Friends and total strangers will have a part of me embedded in Kindle libraries, on their hard drives, and tucked away in cloud storage systems. The pirated copies people upload and download illegally? I may not get paid for them in my lifetime, but the internet is forever. I’m not inclined to thank those who steal my work and post it for their own gain, but they are helping to make me immortal as well.