An ode to something old…

Old Journal 1

This old memo book reeks of mildew, but that’s part of what makes it magical for me–it smells like my dad’s old den.

It’s spring, and for many of us, that means the deep clean: dusting the baseboards, washing the curtains, Q-tipping between the floor tiles. For me it means cleaning out junk, too, especially in my basement, which seems like a never-ending project.

What’s cool, though, is when I find something I’d forgotten I had that I can still use. Back in the late 1990s, I was buying a lot of journals—mostly at library sales. That was the cheapest place to get them. Because library sales are a dumping ground for really old books, they also provide opportunities to pick up really old journals, which are often more interesting than you can find nowadays in any store.

Some of them even have a sense of history. This winner from 1956 has a calendar from that year, an old-style phone number (TA4-7100), and the name of a company manager who’s probably long dead. What’s cool about this last thing? His name is part of my life now. Someone I never knew, someone who had a whole career and a family and interests and hobbies, but he’s reached out to me from decades past. It’s just awesome.

Old Journal 2

I love the calendar, the old style phone number and the name of a company manager who probably passed away years ago.

I found it in one of my basement boxes, and it was still unused. It smells of mildew (it did when I bought it, I remember), but I really love the convenient tear-off size. It’s great for phone messages, shopping lists, and random notes (although not so great for longish paragraphs that come into my head for future stories).

I’m officially using it up. But I think it’s a shame that when it’s done, I’m just going to throw the outside away. It feels like a crime to toss something that wasn’t used for over sixty years in the trash, but, you know…we can’t keep everything, and at least I gave it a nice life for a couple of months.

Old Journal 5

The back and its mildew stains. They’re kind of charming, actually.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at

Posted on March 24, 2019, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What a cool find. I found an old art book once, with the art student’s notes in it. It was like we were studying human figures together.

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