About three years ago when I attended my first Atlanta Pen Show, both as an attendee, and as a dealer, I fell in love with a pen I couldn’t have. You know the one I’m talking about, the one you want to get, but either you ran out of money because you saw it too late after you bought a bunch of other stuff, or you didn’t make enough selling stuff, or you just couldn’t pull the trigger for some reason or another.
Here it was, a Waterman 0552 1/2 rose gold filled smooth overlay. A clipless pen for that understated elegance, and the most lovely personalization on the overlay: “LRL 1917”. Some people don’t like personalization and want their pens pristine and free of such marks, but this to me has always been an interesting part of our hobby you don’t quite get with some other antiques. I’ll leave the topic of personalization for another blog post, however.
Back to the story. I had to have this pen. The price was right for my budget, but we just weren’t selling much at the show. Now, granted, we had one small table with a bunch of our duplicate stuff and some paper. Lisa’s paper outsold anything else four to one, but we did some buying and there went our money. It was not to be. I would not go home with this pen. I did, however, know the dealer, so had it in mind to contact him at a later date and see if I could still acquire the pen. It would be a while, though, the normal course of life and bills and all.
Forward about a month. Lisa and I had decided she would pick up all her worldly belongings and her and the kids (and two cats) would huddle together in the car and move to Wisconsin from Florida. I gesture I have never taken lightly. I would occasionally receive packages in the mail addressed to her and on her monthly visit to come and work on the house renovation she would open them. Well, one day I received a priority mail box addressed to her. I called her, told her it was here and she said, no need to open it, she’d take care of it when she arrived. Ok, I said, I put it aside and thought nothing of it.
Forward to June. Lisa, kids and cats had successfully made the drive and all were settled in nicely. At the end of June came my birthday and on the table there was a slender wrapped box with a ribbon. Having no idea what she might have picked out for me I opened it to find the very same pen I coveted in Atlanta a couple months prior. When did it come? Where did she hide it? Apparently for the better part of two months this pen had been sitting in my sock drawer. Yes, you read that correctly, my sock drawer. Now to be fair, I actually have two sock drawers as they aren’t very big, and one is primarily winter and the other dress socks, but I digress. She hid the pen in plain sight and I never found it. We still laugh about it to this day, but I try to be a little more observant when birthday time comes around.
Of course I use the pen and it is fabulous, but I notice the pen leaks at the section, sometimes covering the entire nib in ink. There are no cracks with the pen, but as I received it as restored, I never bothered to open it up and look inside. Do no harm is always the motto, and if I don’t need to open my personal pens up, I won’t. Well, last week I could take it no longer. I opened it up to see what the problem may be, and sure enough the sac was on it’s way out. Well, that’s not completely true, it looked more like the skin of an elephant than a real sac, but it had enough softness that it would compress and suck in some ink. I was fortunate that no ink leaked into the barrel. I put a new sac in and loaded it with Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Rose and I think you’ll find the results something to shout about!
So the moral of the story is to always check the obvious, whether that be your sock drawer, or the condition of the sac.