Stationery – Why I have a Pencil Case


Last week I said my love of stationery began with a writing course. This is true … but I loved stationery once before. September. What does the word September mean to you? Once upon a time, it meant the start of the new school term, but more importantly it meant a new pencil case. Do you remember the choices? Themed stationery or plain? Pencils or felt-tips? Should the pencil sharpener match the pencil-case or contrast?

By the time I was twelve I had a room full of pencil-cases. My friends once counted around the bedroom. It added up to more than one a year. There were pencil tins – the best ones had special trays, which turned them into multi-layer tins. These looked really smart until they burst open in the school corridor. There were those fantastic zippered sets which came ready-packed with their own notebooks and pens. Do those still exist? Disney used to make them for every major film release. My favourite childhood pencil case had three sections, which meant grotty pencils could be kept separate from writing pens.

It is fair to say that until I was a teenager, my pencil case was like my second home. It was also a statement. One year I had a bright red pencil case with a cartoon spider. A couple of years later, I wouldn’t have been seen with such a thing. It was matching pink equipment or nothing.

I have grown back into stationery, and am pleased the digital age has not seen away pencil cases. I have draws full of pens, but my pencil case is reliably there when I am working. My current pencil case is dark purple, and nature-themed. I bought it the day after that writing course. The one which made me take my writing seriously. It reminds me that writing is a pleasure, and that the implements which allow me to record my thoughts are precious. Children have it right. Our pencil cases reflect who we are.

Louise Nettleton

What was your favourite childhood pencil case like? Do you think pencil cases are important, or just a necessity?

18 thoughts on “Stationery – Why I have a Pencil Case

  1. I used to love starting a new school year so I could get a different pencil case! I think my favourite one I ever had was one made from denim and it had a little secret pocket at the front. I think they’re so important, and it’s great to have fantastic stationery in it as well 🙂

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  2. I remember I had a personalised set that I loved, it was a big zip open case that had pencils, colouring pencils and a ruler, pencil sharpener and rubber. The actual case and all my pencils said Sarah on them and I loved it!

    I remember picking up a pencil case at Disneyland Paris, it was when they had a special Winnie the Pooh shop and I picked up a cream suede pencil case with brown leather edging and an old-school sketch image of Winnie, Tigger an co. It’s still in my room at my mum’s!

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    1. Oooh, you had a set with your name on?! Those were very popular when I was in primary school. I also had lots of novelty items – do you remember those eraser-pens? They were shaped like pens, and had five or six little rubbers inside. Disney do some *lovely* stationery. x

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      1. I did! So did my younger brother, I suspect it was so we couldn’t accuse each other of stealing each other’s pencils!

        I remember those eraser-pens. In a similar vein do you remember the crayon pens? There were like 10 or 12 colours in one and you had to pull the tip off and the push it in the end to cycle through the colours? I loved it at the time but looking back that must have been annoying to get back to a colour you just used! X

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  3. Great post brought back so many memories of my pencil cases! I was definitely a pencil case hoarder constantly buying new ones, I was a suck for a pretty print! My fav was a power puff pencil case mainly because I had the matching school bag haha!! x

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  4. I couldn’t agree more about stationery being an extension of your identity, especially as a school aged child! I remember going through the matching pink phase as well, oh how times have changed! Your current purple and nature themed pencil case sounds magical, I need to invest in a new one of my own because my current one is rather bashed up and the zip is on its last legs!

    Abbey x

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