Tomorrow, I’ll be getting back together with an old friend. Once a constant companion, even to the extent of travelling to distant corners of the world, we parted ways due to a mutual misunderstanding– mainly, but not entirely, my fault. After years of estrangement, we are getting back together, thanks to the internet. I know things can never go back to the way they were, of course, and although there are some regrets connected to that thought, it is probably going to be a healthier relationship.
I am, as usual, speaking about a pen. The pen in question is one which I got for my high school graduation, and when I contemplate the notion of being a single pen user, this is the pen upon which my experience is founded. I had, up to that point, been a serial user of Sheaffer cartridge pens, with a bit of Osmiroid dabbling, but I had never gotten a good pen. After graduation, my father directed me to go to a local stationer’s (such things still existed then) and select a pen to please myself… within reason. I don’t recall what the choices were, since I hadn’t my current grip of makers and models, but I do recall having a bit of an internal wrestle with that last proviso. The problem was this– there were several pens only very slightly more expensive than my habitual Sheaffers which also seems not much better, and there were several that were jaw-droppingly more expensive. Within reason, though, was a very narrow window, composed of this single model.
As a mark of my naïveté, I had never heard of Waterman, and I was somewhat confused as to how such a strongly Anglic name came to be made in France. I was, however, impressed that there was a mechanism included stand in for cartridges! This was living high indeed! So, I spent sixty dollars on a Waterman pen, and spent the next fifteen years using it.
…and abusing it. Even though I had used fountain pens for years, I didn’t know anything about maintenance. It was by mere instinct that I flushed the pen now and again. Usually not more frequently than every fourth month. I also learned by perilous trail that an ink from an art shop that says it can go in a fountain pen might mean, “for a day or so.” It became reluctant to write, and I became dogged about forcing it. One day, it broke at the section. It was this disaster, and the subsequent replacement, which put my feet on the path of learning all that is learnable about fountain pens. The unspoken goal was to one day rehabilitate the poor broken Waterman.
The turning of the world has brought about the sought-for result. There are regrets, still, in the way this has happened. I jumped into the initial attempt at repair far too soon in my studies, and my efforts did little more than to stand in the way of what would now be (probably) successful repair. I say I have restored the pen to use, but this is not through any technical artistry. I found a donor, a pen in Mumbai with a rough body but a cared-for section. My previous harping on the inadequacy of mere replacement comes back to nip at me, and I must now ponder if with the replacement of such a central component I may call it the same pen.
That small dark cloud aside, I am looking forward to tomorrow’s launch. I would have run it out today, but I wanted to finish writing a page for my site for it. You see, through all the years of our acquaintance, I never knew the model name. Since 1984, it has merely been “The Waterman”, and the tendency of Waterman to be slightly obscure with its model names hasn’t helped. I have, since my site was first initiated, been struggling to pin the pen with a label, and it has resisted. Coincidence piled up this weekend, though, and I was finally able through rediscovery of the original box and its obscure sticker to apply the internet’s vast resources to find a single resource that I consider valid and sufficient. Having found the name, I am actually rather content to have not known it previously. I may well have fled the store if I had known what a silly name the pen was suffering under….
Ladies, Gentlemen, I present the rehabilitated Waterman Super Master. No flash photography, please.
Today’s pen, also with a silly name: Parker Vacumatic
Today’s ink, likewise: Pelikan Brilliant Brown