Friday, September 30, 2022

A sentimental favourite

As you may know, our pen club isn't just about fountain pens. In fact, we've had meetings that featured vintage ballpoints from a wide variety of manufacturers. VPC member Christopher was kind enough to send in this lovely story of how his mother acquired two such ballpoints (one of which he owns) from a well-known local shopping mall several decades ago....

Christopher: "In the early 1960s, my family lived in Vancouver in the district of Kerrisdale. Not the Kerrisdale we of Vancouver are familiar with today, but a much simpler and basic, if not rustic, neighbourhood. Near the end of the decade before, the second largest shopping center of Vancouver was developed less than twenty minutes from our house on SW Marine Drive. Whereas most of our shopping had involved a somewhat long excursion on the interurban line into downtown Vancouver to the Woodward’s department store (which, as my mother often commented, had almost everything), the new Oakridge shopping mall, which included its own Woodward’s branch, had countless stores and services.  Amongst those services was the Woodward’s pen counter. This was almost a department in itself, with a massive selection of writing instruments under many well known banners.

(All photos courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on images to enlarge)

In December of 1961, my mother found that she was at a loss for a pen which she could carry in her handbag. It was also nearing Christmas and there was a need for a gift for my father. So while out on a grocery shopping expedition in her rather tiny Nash Metropolitan to the Woodward’s Oakridge food floor, we made a slight detour to the Woodward’s pen counter. I remember the clerk telling my Mum that Paper Mate had just released a new line of their pens under the Capri branding, and it was an impressive range for both men and the ladies. My Mum asked to see first a Capri that just might be suitable for her handbag and what the clerk bought to our attention was the Lady Capri. Of the range of colours, my mother immediately took to the ‘Dark Pink’, which was offset with a brilliant brushed chrome cap decorated with extremely attractive matching dark pink starbursts. While on the barrel there was the Paper Mate logo of two tiny brushed chrome hearts. I also recall the price as being quite expensive at the time, at $2.95 plus the tax.

(Above: Christopher's mother at about the time she bought the Paper Mate ballpoints - Dec. 1961)

But Mum carried on, asking to see the top Paper Mate pen in the Capri line. She told the clerk that it would be a Christmas present for my father and had to be something special. She added that he was using a Parker 51 fountain pen which she had gifted him with in 1948. The attendant assured her that the Capri IV would be the perfect gift and besides, it wasn’t just one of those old leaky fountain pens but a smart new ballpoint. So both pens were bought and the Capri IV went on to reside at my father’s office, while the Lady Capri became a pen which I saw often around our house and while out shopping with my Mum.

To this day, that little Lady Capri treasure has had a special place in my heart and lives on in my current collection."

What a great story! I love hearing the stories behind our members' pen acquisitions. Many thanks to Christopher for sharing the provenance behind this stylish vintage ballpoint :)

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