My secretary has become my sacred space. When I refer to my secretary, I’m really talking about the antique desk that has been handed down to me through three generations. It is actually called a secretary’s desk or escritoire, but we always called it “the secretary”. It is a tall piece of furniture with several wide drawers and a hinged top that can be pulled down as a writing surface. Atop that is a set of bookshelves with glass doors. Within the hinged area, there are cubbies and mini drawers for keeping writing supplies like stationary, envelopes, stamps, address books, pens and pencils. It affords me a great sense of organization.
I keep paperclips, staples and stapler, tape, rubber bands, slates and styli for hand writing braille, Sharpees, and such in mine. The glass enclosed bookcase houses my antique books, my great grandmother’s miniature pitcher collection and a few other sentimental trinkets, including my Grammy’s ashes in a delicate little porcelain tea pot with a blue and white floral pattern on it. My mother inspired the organization and content of the drawers; all our wrapping paper, gift bags, colored tissue paper, ribbons and scissors live there throughout my childhood. But the top drawer is filled with various other blindness related items I sometimes find useful like braille playing cards, my color identifier, my braille labeler and dimotape, cords and chargers to my sundry adaptive electronics, and a set of tactile dice.
My grandfather, Poppie, acquired the secretary many years ago. A real estate broker and entrepreneur, he had a way of manifesting unusual treasures and bestowing them on his family. When my mom grew up and settled into our first (and only) house, he bequeathed it to her, where it sat in our “TV room” throughout my childhood. It was always an exciting moment when I was instructed to get “blank” out of the secretary for her . It was dark and beautiful, smelled musty and warm. The glass bookcase had a skeleton key to lock its treasures within it. Funny though- that key has always just sat in the lock for any old thief to turn. Even now! The glass is beveled and seemed magical to me as a girl.
I just love my secretary. When I decided last year that it was high time for me to have a roomof my own in our house, the secretary was the first thing I claimed for my sacred space. Each of my children had a room of their own. My husband had an entire library. I noticed that everywhere I tried to set up shop to be alone with my thoughts, other people and their stuff seemed to invade. Sure, I guess I could say the kitchen was mine; I love to cook and create in there. But if that was my room, why couldn’t I keep the sink free of people’s dirty dishes, counters clear of clutter, and floor free of discarded shoes? The Wedgewood blue front parlor called to me. It’s ornately plastered ceiling and walls were fanciful and unique. The color was cheery and energizing. The sunlight streams in on sunny mornings (not as common as I’d like them to be in this region) and fill the room with warmth and creativity. It felt a bit bold and selfish, but it was exactly what I needed at that point in my life- my very own imagination workshop. With only some grumbling from the kids and husband, we cleared out the miscellany and moved in the antique couch Grammy had found for me in NH, adorning it with throw pillows. I filled the armoire with knitting supplies, beep baseball paraphernalia, and teaching accessories. . Great grandmother Mommy Peg’s marble coffee table abuts the couch and hosts an ornate antique lamp and a bowl of porcelain Wedgewood spheres. During the cold months, the wicker planter full of cacti and various houseplants abide the cold until they can be returned to their homes on the front porch. Call it what you will- an office, the blue room, a parlor, a word garden, a result of a mid-life temper tantrum; it is all mine, it feeds my creativity, and its focal point is my secretary.
That desk was the delivery room for this very blog. Sitting at it one sunny winter morning, reflecting on the many people I have interacted with over the years for whom I feel especially grateful, the seed for this forum to express my thoughts suddenly germinated. The words seemed to stream from my fingertips as our cat nudged my calves and blueberry scented steam wafted from my tea cup. Each morning now, I descend the stairs and enter my sanctuary, pulling down the hinged shelf on which my laptop sits. The words and ideas tumble out and my soul fills with purpose and gratitude for the many gifts in my life and my opportunity and space to share them with you.
So, on this Administrative Professionals’ Day (formerly known as Secretaries’ Day), this is my homage to my sacred space. The drawers, shelves, and cubbies are as full of memories, inspiration, generosity, imagination, and possibilities as they are with actual writing junk!