15 April 2013

Keeping It In The Family

Source: Anita Lim
If you are in your mid twenties, you have most probably left home to go and study at a university or a college. You end your courses and then get a job returning home every once in a while to visit your family.

During your time at college or Uni you have become a dedicated Filofax user, a regular reader of Philiofaxy, and you chip in with the odd comment or question on the blog or one of the Facebook groups. Trawling Flickr and Facebook you envy the older Filofax models people share the pictures of.

It is during one of your visits home that your mother or father tells you they are planning their silver wedding anniversary and they want to see if you are free on the date they have in mind.

Instead of pulling out your iPhone you reach in to your bag and you pull out your Filofax organiser, with a well practiced flick of the finger you undo the popper, your index finger goes for the 'Today' tab, and then you flick the pages forward to the date in mind, the pages gliding over the rings.

Your mother has watched you do this, it took just seconds, her mind is full of memories from 25 years ago, she remembers those same set of actions you have just performed when choosing her wedding date.

You look up and you see her smile and then those immortal words, "I had one of those planners you know....it is upstairs somewhere"

Thoughts about the party date are pushed to one side.

'Where is it' you ask.... 'Can I see it, please'

"Yes, of course I will get it in a minute..... So are you free on the 26th?" Your mother asks.

'Yes, I will write it in now' you respond quickly making a note on the page using your favourite pen.

'Can we go and find your planner now, Mum?' You say in an insistent, pleading tone.

Your mum looks a little baffled by your sudden interest in a planner she used back in the 1980's. You follow her upstairs leaving your father with his head in his Daily Telegraph reading the sports section, muttering about England losing by 20 runs.

You enter your parents room, you wonder when your mother will grow out of the Laura Ashley decor. She reaches for the handle of the bottom drawer and pulls it, it sticks, but it eventually opens, you are there keen and looking.

She reaches in to the bottom of the drawer and pulls out a burgundy Winchester, you fight your urge to snatch it from her hand. It looks perfect, you want it, what a find, already ideas for a blog post, the You Tube video are speeding through your mind.

Your mother flicks open the popper and opens the organiser, the pages have yellowed with time, the brio ink has faded a little, but it is all perfectly readable. She turns the pages, she chuckles to her self as the memories of when she was your age come flooding back as she remembers what she was doing back then, the new job, the parties, the shopping list for her wedding.

She continues turning the pages, the old inserts full of information from a bygone era, the slightly hardened plastic of a 1980's plastic envelope with a photograph of your mother, big hair, shoulder pads, lots of make up. You laugh together at that.

Then she passes it to you, you feel the soft leather in your hands and as you are engrossed looking at it, she says those words you have been longing to hear.... "Would you like it.....I don't use it any more"

You look up closing the organiser, clutching it to your chest, your eyes are wide, you are almost lost for words.

'Oh yes please' trying to contain your excitement.

Your mother smiles, then surprises you again.

"I have your grandfather's her somewhere....."

Can this day get any better???

I will let you finish off the rest of this story in your own imagination, but next time you do visit home, ask your mum and dad if they ever used a Filofax....they might still have them.......

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


  1. Oh if only my parents bought binders and not just the cheap $2 planners.

    Love the comment about England losing by 20 runs sounds about right! Lol!

  2. What a great story! Sadly, none of my relatives understands my passion for journals, stationery and Filofaxes. Does that mean... I am adopted?

  3. "Zum Scheißen schön", they would say in Austria. Great story, thanks.

  4. Quite a nice story! I begged my mum a while ago to let me have her old Filofax Personal Sherwood. I finanlly succeeded - she got it from my dad as a gift, but it was sitting unused in a drawer since she didn't really like the colour. So now I have it. :-)

  5. I am one of those parents and I have two personal Burgundy Winchesters from the 80's. One has slightly damaged rings and so the pages don't glide smoothly but the other has bigger rings, (1.25" I think), which are in perfect condition. Unfortunately both have lost their buttons over the years. My offspring are not interested in them so they languish in a drawer, is there a market for used filofaxes?

    1. Paul, I'd be happy to foster or adopt the one with 1.25 inch rings from you! :D

    2. Paul - I'd be interested in buying one from you if you want to part with one!

    3. oh, is there ever, Paul! The old "everything old is new again" adage sings loud and clear lately!

    4. Is there a market for these??? There'll be a long line of folk queuing up to buy it off you, me included. And it's already started, ha ha!

  6. I love this story! I'm sure my parents don't have a Filofax, but my favourite part of the story is: graduating from university, and 'getting a job'. 2 degrees later, I can say that hasn't happened for me!! :( :(

  7. That was A LOT of fun Anita :) Enjoyed every word!

    1. Steve did all the hard work & I only provided the photo :)

  8. My mum has a pocket identity in black, she has had it for as long as i remember and i always wanted one because i saw hers and loved it!

  9. Thanks for a great story, Steve :)
    This actually happened to me with an Uncle-in-law! Off he went to rummage in a cupboard & brought back a well-used black king crocodile Winchester. I sold it for him on eBay as they were trying to raise some funds.

    I bought the burgundy Winchester shown for my Dad. The seller said that it had been bought for someone, put away & only found years later. It had been so long that the gentleman had retired by then & didn't feel the need to keep it.

  10. I've got a dark brown leather personal in the loft somewhere, bought circa late 80s, from when I had my first teaching job. Don't know the model... to me back then it was just a Filofax... of course now I'm much more au fait! It could even be ye olde Winchester, as the clasp looks familiar here. But tidying the loft is number 652 on the to do list!! Dad keeps proudly reminding me of the planner he got free with petrol.... not a Filofax.... I am trying to educate his taste in planners!! The mumbles from behind The Daily Telegraph is the same scenario in our house.... only Scotland's scores in the rugger.... and of course hilarious laughter at the daily Matt cartoons! I loved this post. Thank you Anita.

  11. Silly me. I had an early 80s grey Winchester complete with change holder and donated both to charity when I "upgraded" to a palm pilot ! Gnash!

  12. My mom uses a spiral notebook. I won't be coveting that!

  13. Ha! My parents didn't know when they were young what a planner is. I didn't know what is Ff until one year ago!
    But I ebjoyed the story.
    My daughter is 5 and she knows what is FF, and she will inherit it from me if she will want it!

  14. What a great story and a great (and beautiful) find!! I wish I had mine from the old days ...

  15. My father carries a tiny agenda and a matching tiny address book. My mother was trained in bookbinding and made her own address book in the 1970s which she continues to use.