Step Into My Office
It’s a small room at the far end of a sprawling ranch house in beautiful Far Hills, New Jersey. It’s the first door on your left as you walk into the house from the garage. There are bookcases from Ballard Design catalog attached to the wall behind where I sit. They are filled with books and photographs, some framed, some in photo albums, some in boxes. One shelf holds my “cheap souvenir” collection.
I have the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben, the Duomo from Florence, the Freedom Tower, a bunch of shot glasses from around the world as well as a few ashtrays. I’ve tried to only add items to the collection that were priced under ten dollars.
The most expensive item on the shelf is a ruby red glass canoe that says “Compliments of Redford, NY”. I paid forty bucks for it in a rare exception to my under ten bucks rule because it was too beautiful and campy not to add to the collection. I’ve never been to Redford, NY. I bought the canoe in an antiques store in Lake Placid.
Another shelf is home to my framed photos of my friends the Lame Dames. I have two friends I met in online stroke support groups. Each of us had severe strokes at age 35. Amelia, like me, was expecting a baby at the time. The three of us have spent a week together rotating visits to each other’s homes for four years now.
One shelf is dedicated to dead dogs. There are two urns filled with ashes next to photos of my dearly departed friends.
There’s plenty of clutter on the bookcase, too. It’s a catchall for stuff like wrapping paper, greeting cards and coupons.
Because the office is near the exit to the garage, I keep coats hung on hooks on the wall and hats and gloves in a basket on another shelf.
I sit at an old desk that is either an antique or an old piece of junk, I’m not sure which.
There is a canvas print of a photograph of me riding in my second horse show on the wall I face. Above it is a wire nailed to the wall from which my 18 horse show ribbons hang. To the left is my framed diploma from New York University. I have a horse themed calendar hanging below the ribbons.
Above the coat hooks hangs a carved leopard mask I bought in Kenya as I walked through a side of the road restroom stop which naturally led through the gift shop.
There are framed photos of my two sons taken in 2006 when they were still so cute they could trick me into believing they would be sweet forever.
A file cabinet holds 40 years of records and important papers.
My office has one floor to ceiling window that overlooks a small pine tree that looks beautiful when it’s covered with snow. Beyond it is a young maple tree which turns from red to stunning orange to brown in the fall before becoming completely naked for the winter.
A framed poem written by a gone too soon friend is displayed on top of the filing cabinet. It’s called “But You’re Here”. He wrote it after both of us survived life threatening health crises in 1999.
I’m close to a bathroom and the kitchen here in my office. I can do laundry in the next room as I’m working.
This story was inspired by David Sedaris’ descriptions of his five writing rooms in Sussex, England, London, England, Paris, France, New York, NY, and Emerald Isle, NC.
What stories does YOUR room tell?