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July 2007: The Younger Set

Extra Fine Points Index  ]

Extra Fine Points author Don Fluckinger was called out of town unexpectedly this week and so wasn’t able to write his usual column. Instead, we bring you this pen-related vignette performed by Don’s offspring — Richard’s grandchildren — Patrick and Susanna, a.k.a. Pinkie. Other characters include Mom (Richard’s daughter Kate) and Gran (Richard’s better half). Now, on with the show…

Aaaah, how lovely is the chatter of little voices. Extra Fine Points

PATRICK: Mom! Mom! Mommy! Pinkie put purple ink in my pen!

MOM: Oh, really? Huh. I didn’t know she knew how to do that.

PATRICK: Mom! Fix it! It needs to be Waterman Blue-Black! Fix it right now!

MOM: Well, that looks like Diamine Imperial Purple. It’s OK, Patrick, we’ll get Pop to fix it. Are you sure Pinkie did it, though?

PATRICK: Uh, uh, uh. Did you do it?

MOM: No, but maybe Gran did. You can ask her when she picks up Pinkie later.

Susanna with her pen and Patrick’sSUSANNA: Eh! Gran! Go go go!

MOM: Now, you two be good for a minute while I go water my tomato plants. I’ll be right back.

[Exit Mom.]

SUSANNA: Eh-oh! Pen!

PATRICK: Noooooo! It is my pen! You have to play with your pen!

[From this point on, Susanna’s Toddlerstani has been translated into standard English. Patrick’s lines have been transcribed verbatim.]

SUSANNA: But yours has purple ink in it! I didn’t know about all those ink colors — how come you never told me about them? They’re better than crayons!

PATRICK: But you need to make letters with Waterman’s Blue-Black. That’s the way I like to do it. Purple ink is not for making letters!

SUSANNA: What is purple ink for?

PATRICK: It is for drawing cars! But it is not for coloring your nose. Gran says no coloring your nose with purple ink.

SUSANNA: What’s drawing? I only know how to eat my pen. It tastes good! Better than crayons.

PATRICK: When you are big, you will learn how to draw cars. And trucks. And trains, and limousines, and bulldozers.

SUSANNA: Can I draw shoes? I like shoes.

PATRICK: You can draw shoes, but you can’t use my pen. This is my Stratford. It is French blue and gold.

SUSANNA: My pen is blue too.

PATRICK: Your pen is a baby blue and silver Wearever. You can put purple ink in it if you want.

SUSANNA: I want to eat it first. Then I shall eat Gran’s pink Taccia. And Pop’s Pharaoh.

PATRICK: Pens are not for eating! They are for drawing and for making letters!

SUSANNA: What’s a letter?

Fountain pen

Patrick’s 1950s Stratford has a new life with a broad Schmidt nib.

PATRICK: This is a P! P is for Patrick. And it is for Pinkie. And it is for pens!

SUSANNA: Oooh, P. Can I eat it?

PATRICK: Here, eat this. It’s only a third-tier pen.

SUSANNA: Mmmmmmmmmm.

PATRICK: Uh-oh. Mom? Mom! Mommy!

[Enter Mom.]

MOM: Yes, my love? Oh my lord, what happened to Susanna?

PATRICK: Her pen has Waterman Havana Brown ink in it.

Fountain pen

This is Susanna’s “baby blue and silver” Wearever.

MOM: Yes, I can see that now. Don… Don, where’s the Ink Nix?

[Enter Gran.]

GRAN: Good morning! Oh, Pinkie, what did you do to yourself?

PATRICK: Gran, did you put purple ink in my pen?

GRAN: Who, me? That sounds like something Pop would do, don’t you think?

SUSANNA: Pop! Bopbopbop!

Aaaah, how lovely is the chatter of little voices. This all sounds like the beginning of something … long-lasting. Let’s direct our imaginations 14 years in the future, when Patrick is 18 and Pinkie is 15.

Patrick drawing with Gran’s pen at PaneraPATRICK: I know you did it. I told you before, stay out of my pens! Or at the very least, fill them with blue-black before you put them back.

SUSANNA: You’re so uncool. Blue-black is so boring. All your pens are boring.

PATRICK: My pens are sophisticated. I wouldn’t think you would understand, being so much younger. You have all those silly bright and sparkly ones. How do you expect to be taken seriously?

SUSANNA: At least they’re interesting. Vintage pens are so much cooler anyway. And what kind of a color is blue-black anyway? I mean, when someone asks you what ink you’re using, isn’t it so much cooler to be able to say, like, Diamine Woodland Green or Passion Red? It just makes it that much more awesome.

PATRICK: …um, no. Blue-black is good for anything. And you can read it.

SUSANNA: You can read stuff written in color too! Take my Cardinal Waterman ringtop. I never lose it, it’s so bright, and I fill it with Waterman’s Violet. I never get any complaints. And it writes perfectly now that Pop smoothed the nib.

PATRICK: Yeah, sure, but try writing in violet on important paperwork. Black or blue only! I have the best of both worlds. I use my Pelikan M215 with the blue barrel for all of that stuff. See? Color. Blue. Doesn’t that make you happy?

SUSANNA: Dude, if you’re looking for Pelikans, you have to be going for the M320. Orange. Or maybe the green one. 4". How much cooler can you get than that? I’d never fill a pen that sweet with blah old blue-black.

PATRICK: That’s another thing. This obsession with tiny pens, ringtop pens: I just don’t get it. Give me a Taccia Black Pearl Ta-ke any day over those teeny tiny things. I’m looking for substance here.

SUSANNA: Substance, ha!

PATRICK: Yeah, sure, ha. But what I want to know is why you keep stealing my pens if I have such bad taste.


PATRICK: Yeah. That’s what I thought. Hey, just ask next time. I might even go so far as to let you use some of your Woodland Green ink. I guess that’s not so bad.

SUSANNA: I knew you couldn’t possibly be as boring as you seem! Sooner or later, I will win you over.

PATRICK: [Chasing Pinkie good-naturedly]: In your dreams!

Freelance writer Don Fluckinger lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the son-in-law of Richard Binder. His articles have been published in Antiques Roadshow Insider, The Boston Globe, and on the collectibles Web site. Please note: Any opinions stated in this column are Don’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Richard Binder or this Web site. Don Fluckinger
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