I've been planning for weeks now to set up a small "office space" in the front room of the house. It's a basically unused room, with some random bits of furniture, half a dozen bookcases, and an assortment of other things. It's pretty cluttered, really, and we don't use the space very much. My current desk is sitting in the living room, which is warm, comfortable, and about ten feet from both the TV and my childrens' main play area. It is NOT conducive to staying focused on writing. So I've been planning this new spot. Desk, chair, bookcase for some references. No TV, no kid toys, no internet to distract me. I cleared a corner out for a desk, but buying a decent desk new is a large investment for us right now. Don't laugh. We're not broke, but money for extras is tight. So I've been popping over to the local "used stuff" place, a business called Recycle North that takes in old furniture, books, computers, and all sorts of other things. I stop in once a week or so while driving by to look and see if they have a decent desk. Yesterday I made a stop.
And I saw this cute blue wooden desk. It had drawers on both sides, and a narrow space in the center for your legs. Almost too small for an adult, it was really more of a kid's desk. In fact, it looked just like the one I had as a child. Right down to the big round stain on the top. And the loose board on the bottom of the top left drawer. And the paint drips in many colors inside the drawers. And...wow.
I was starting to get excited. I grabbed a small typing chair from a few feet away, and sat down in front of the desk. With that chair, my legs fit fine. And I was at just the right height for typing. I looked over the desk some more. The back had been re-stapled to the frame where it had pulled away. I could swear this WAS my desk. That this was the desk I sat in front of when I was seven and typed my first short story. This was the desk where I did my first novel-writing as a young teen. If it wasn't my old desk, it was a close twin.
No price tag, so I asked how much it was. They said $30. I demurred, concealing my excitement, and they went down to $25. I said sure, then tossed in the chair I had used to test the desk as well. It was a $1 chair, kinda beat but comfortable. My regular desk chair is a huge office style chair that would never work for a small desk. They held the chair so I could pick it up with our minivan (which I did, today).
I called my Mom as soon as I got home. She has a better memory for this sort of thing than I do, and I had completely forgotten where the desk had gone. It had been a prized possession for most of my life at that time, but I couldn't recall just when and why we'd gotten rid of it. Turns out she bought the desk second hand when I was about two years old. It was older than I was. She had painted it that blue herself after getting it home, so even if a double of the desk had survived this long, it shouldn't have been that shade of blue. I had been given the desk a few years later. I'd had that desk for over a decade when it finally failed enough that she got dropped it at a local dump. The back had broken out (it's been carefully re-attached) and the leg support on one side had failed (that looks to have been more heavily reworked). But as I described the desk I had bought, she became sure that this was in fact the same one.
Somehow, someone picked that desk up at the dump. Then repaired the damage. Then cared for it for over two decades, during which time it traveled over a hundred miles to where I found it.
Sometimes, truth really IS stranger than fiction.
But I'm really glad to have my desk back.