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Read an excerpt HERE. Click on image to buy PERFIDITAS.

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Click on image to buy INCEPTIO. Amazon bestseller
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Double memories

Finding something that you know will give somebody else a great deal of pleasure is a smiley moment. Nothing is the same as watching the other person’s eyes widen. Their look of immediate disbelief dissolves as you hand it to them and they receive it with a huge grin on their face.

I decided to sort through my archive box yesterday; school projects, old passports, postcards and sew-on badges from all over Europe, wedding cards, my BA thesis, my ‘Man From Uncle’ secret agent card, a roller skate adjustment key, my army captain’s shoulder pips, my French business school papers, a number puzzle, letters from my mother and my then fiancé, my son’s baby hospital tag, newspaper cuttings, diaries.

My reactions ranged from embarrassment, laughter and sadness. I was deeply moved by some of the letters, but wondered why the hell I’d kept some other things. Definitely a series of Proust’s ‘madeleine moments’…

Folded in between the diaries, I found a slim stationery catalogue punched with six holes near the spine. It was no. 137, issued by Norman & Hill Ltd of 16 Newgate Street. London EC1 who sold Lefax, Filofax and Cardref systems. I recognised it from the time I had run my father’s antiques business. We had purchased some items from an estate and inside a drawer were stationery items, including a small ring binder with inserts. I have no idea what happened to the binder, but my historical genes wouldn’t let me throw the catalogue out. It was a fascinating insight into how people organised their business and family events and records.  And it made a connection to my Filofax which, like everybody then, contained my  life.

Finding it in this box now let me remember the original fascination I had with it then. A little message from history, like Christmas cake-making I blogged about in November.

But the pleasure of my husband’s face now was even better. You see, he is the king of the world Filofax community (www.philofaxy.com).
 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, and PERFIDITAS. Third in series, SUCCESSIO, is out early summer 2014.

7 comments to Double memories

  • You had army captain shoulder pips! Gosh. I’m impressed. I used to have a filofax too. There was something special about holding every piece of relevant information about myself in my hand. Computers are just not the same.

    • joanne

      I’ve been a Filofax junkie for years and could’t agree with you more about computers just not doing it.

  • Alison

    Very strange feeling, looking back on little bits of my life. Opening an archive box is a bit like Kim’s game, but I thoroughly recommend it as a life re-balancing exercise.

    The filofax is undergoing a huge revival at the moment; philofaxy.com gets over a thousand visits a day, and from all over the world. And they are truly, madly, deeply passionate about it. 🙂

  • Liz Harris

    I have very little that derives from past years as I throw everything away. I never hoard things – not even the boys’ first tooth.

    My mother, however, kept every newspaper throughout her life that recorded a significant event. She lived till she was 94, and there were a great many important events in her life, so there are a lot of newspapers in the pile.

    My instinct was to throw them away when she died, but happily I ignored my instinct, and I’m pleased that I did. They will be an interesting resource, if nothing else, when I set a novel during the period in which she lived.

    Liz X

  • Alison

    I have two medium-sized boxes with stuff from the ‘deep past’ and review them every now and again. Quite a pleasure on a rainy afternoon…

  • Alison

    1937? Wow! The lapel style screams 1930s, but I did wonder…