As my mother's only child, I inherited several boxes filled with papers and objects relating to her literary interests. After more than one diligent search, I have to report that her Esterbrook desk pen is not among these things. In flights of fancy I imagine that it may have accompanied her to heaven. I sincerely hope so. I picture her, seated at a gilded desk, her health restored, putting pen and peacock blue ink to heavenly paper that neither feathers nor bleeds.
A year or two after my mother's death, I ran across an Esterbrook desk pen listed on E-Bay. The description said, "needs to be reconditioned." My husband, knowing my passion for fountain pens in general and Esterbrook desk pens in particular, ordered it for me. It occupied a place in my mother's secretary desk for quite a while before I discovered where to send it for reconditioning. It has now been returned to me in good working order. I located a bottle of peacock blue ink among my mother's things, and of course that's what flows from my Esterbrook.
I must confess that there have been long periods of time when I haven't touched a fountain pen. Then this obsession of mine, having been in a dormant state, whispers to me like some long lost lover. I find myself searching in long forgotten storage places for every fountain pen I ever owned. For weeks or months I revel in the life of a fountain pen aficionado. Then my passion would be put to the test and finally squelched by my old nemesis - inferior paper.
In 2006 there was a revival of my fountain pen inclination that has remained constant thanks to the Fountain Pen Network, a community of forums dedicated to fountain pens, paper, and writing paraphernalia. I had no idea there were so many fountain pen enthusiasts all over the world! Through FPN I learned where to find quality paper that is reasonably priced and works with fountain pens - Clairfontaine Triomphe stationery, classic laid stationery by G. Lalo, Rhodia tablets, and Moleskine notebooks. Gliding a fountain pen over any of these papers is pure joy!
This leads me to an obvious question. If quality paper can be produced at a reasonable price, why are we plagued by inferior paper? The answer came to me before I had finished typing the question - because we have been launched onto the swirling water of a fast-paced computerized world where - if pens are used at all - they are ball point pens and any old paper will do.
Like the rest of the world, I too have a love affair with the computer. My husband is quick to remind me that he and our daughters had to pry my blue fingernails from our old typewriter and forcefully seat me in front of a computer. I have finally adjusted to the computerized age. However, that doesn't mean I've lost the ability to savor life in the alternate dimension of fountain pens where the tempo is slower, ink flows freely, and the quality of paper matters.