I was a graduate student, just moved cross-country with second-hand furniture and plank-and-cinderblock bookshelves. I knew that as my studies grew, so would my book collection (and my bookshelves). I managed to get a "den," a few bookshelves from Ikea — but I was stumped about a desk.
Then I read about someone who grabbed a
nice, thick board, stained and shellacked the heck out of it and
attached it to two filing cabinets. I was intrigued: I could make a desk
as big as I wanted.
Computers were new at the time, so
I needed something big. (Well, bigger than what I had used for my
typewriter.) I also had a cat who liked to sit between me and whatever I
was working on, so it had to be wide. (Mao, God love her, was wide.
Furry. Think Maine Coon, but a moggy.)
The board was
beautiful, rich reds and browns under enough shellac that you could cut
vegetables on it and not a mark would appear. Between the bolts on the
filing cabinets and the walls, that desk was going nowhere.
I was — after graduation, I purchased a townhouse. A new one. Brand
spankin' new, with pristine white walls. I could not drill a desk to
those walls (well, and not faint). My dad bought me the biggest desk on
the market, with a four-foot flat-top retractable shelf and a place for
my computer tower, keyboard, thick monitor and lots and lots of disk
I didn't want to part with my beautiful board,
so I leaned it up against the wall in the guest closet, behind the
door, and waited.
A decade and a half later, the desk
was given a new home. As computers evolved into laptops and the space of
the room in which it had sat for 16 years needed to be "sold" to a
fickle home-buying market, it was deemed "too big." It had served me
well, but now it needed to belong to someone else.
a year: as packers emptied the storage units that held my family's
belongings for the better part of a year, one of them struggled out with
a huge board swathed in bubble wrap.
trip to Home Depot provided a set of table legs and, after only one
incident involving cat paws and dark brown stain, the new-old desk sat
in the middle of my dream library, with my comfy chair tucked under the
It's a work in progress — lighting, pencil
holders, where to put supplies and how to position power cords so I
don't kill myself, whether the legs are too dark — but for now, I have
the desk that saw me through grad school and waited patiently for me to
return to continue writing on it. We're both home.