A granddaughter recalls her childhood fascination with her grandfather’s roll top desk, and how it is now a treasured family heirloom.
When I was a child, my grandfather had a wonderful rolltop desk – the kind that had all those neat little cubbyholes. I thought he must be rich for sure to have such a treasure.
The cubbyholes fascinated me. I knew if the desk were mine, I would have plenty of things to go in every hole. The desk also had drawers, where my grandfather’s ledger, financial notebooks and other business things were kept.
After my grandmother passed away, my parents asked my grandfather to move in with us, as my mother was his only child. He agreed, and when he came to live with us, so did his beautiful desk. I was a teenager by this time, and I was still fascinated by how much stuff that old desk could hold.
The desk was partially organized, but since the top of the desk could be rolled down, my grandfather generally left everything he was working on as it was when he quit working on it, knowing all his things would be just where he left off when he rolled the desk open. When the desk was open, it was obvious that it was not as immaculate as one would think when it was rolled down.
Until he was 91, my grandfather worked with stocks, CDs and bonds. He was able to pay his bills and still have enough for posterity by using his mind – and his desk.
I was in my 30s when that beautiful antique desk was handed down to me. I’m still thrilled to have it, and I hope as I get older, I will remember what my grandfather taught me about investing – and that I’ll be able to leave a little something for posterity as well.
Danbury, North Carolina
Read more heirloom stories in Keepsakes Passed Down Through Generations.