All I wanted was the vintage paper reinforcers.

Before I came home to visit my family, my father had sent me an email with a picture of old page reinforcers and asked, “Do you want these?”

Um, office supplies? Yes! Vintage? Yes! Vintage office supplies? Yes, yes, yes!

But when I got home, he pulled out a whole pile of, well, let’s call it “stuff,” because while I’d call it “treasures,” I’m pretty sure my husband would call it “junk.” Adam’s not such a fan of my treasures and finds it a bit odd the stuff I choose to bring into our house.
Collection of stuff my dad saved

My father pointed out a spoon. “My grandfather,” he said, “had a laundry in New York City. One day when he was doing laundry, this spoon fell out of an item of clothing, and he saved it. It says George Rector on the handle. Have you heard of his restaurant?”

Well, after a little digging I had heard of it. A cool find!
Spoon from George Rector's restaurant

“Do you like old matchbooks?” he asked.

Do I breathe? How many times do I need to declare to the world my love of matchbooks. Kept those!

“This is a notepad that says from the desk of your grandfather. Want it?”


Then my father holds up two wooden sticks. “Do you know what these are?”
Mystery objects (aka toilet paper spindles)
I picked them up, turned them around, noticed one of the ends had a spring to them. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what they were.

My father said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, “They’re the things that hold the toilet paper on.”

Confused, I asked, “Toilet paper spindles?”

Nodding, he said, “Yes!”

“Why on earth do you have toilet paper spindles?”

He explained that they were from the house our family lived in when I was in high school. When he and my mom moved out, he took the spindles because they were exactly like the spindles he had growing up. “They’re real wood!”

“Out of all the things you could have kept from that house, you chose the toilet paper spindles?”

“Yes,” he said, not understanding my confusion. “Do you want them? You can use them at your house.”

“Why don’t you use them here?” I asked.

“They don’t fit our holders.”

“Why on earth would they then fit our holders?”

He shrugged. “Do you want them? Otherwise I’m going to throw them out.”

Toilet paper spindles? Really? Old wooden toilet paper spindles?

I showed them to everyone, who didn’t quite understand why he would save them. We had guests over for brunch and I had them look at them and try to figure out what they were (no one could). No one could quite fathom why my father had saved these spindles.


Dear reader, I expect it goes without saying… at the end of the day, I took those spindles and slipped them into my suitcase. Because you know: wooden toilet paper spindles! From my childhood home! Just like the ones from my dad’s childhood home! And when would I ever find something like that again?

(Just please don’t tell my husband!)