When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things was to sneak into my father’s
study. It was a wonderful place with bookcases from the floor to the ceiling, an
old worn carpet, a torn leather armchair and my father’s beat-up desk. It had its
own aroma too—a mixture of old paper, leather, tobacco and even a little of my
I wasn’t very big at the time. My nose probably came up to about the top of the
desk. I remember the first time I saw that paperweight. It was right at eye-level.
I was fascinated by it. It was a diamond shape with many facets—a prism. It
seemed to change as the light changed throughout the day, when I would foray
into my secret place. It made it seem so exotic.
Sometimes I would lie on the floor, holding it, turning it and watching the colors
bounce off the ceiling and walls. I would think of magic carpets and genies,
elephants and camels, foreign cities and different cultures. It elevated my
father—made him seem exotic too.
I spent a lot of time daydreaming. Soon I graduated to reading some books. I was
so fortunate because we had books on so many different subjects, literally from
archeology to zoology, and novels—everything from historical novels to
mysteries. You name it, we probably had it: our own personal library!
I’m not quite sure how or when I graduated from using my imagination to simply
reading. Once, I remember, while I was peering at a huge atlas, I shoved things
out of the way to make room for it, and the paperweight fell off the desk. I recall
gasping as it thudded to the floor. When I checked it to ensure it wasn’t broken,
it wasn’t with the awe with which I use to treat it. It was more of a cursory look
to make certain it wasn’t chipped.
Time passed, as it has a habit of doing, and soon I was away from home and living
my own life. About a year ago, I returned home to help pack and go through
some of my father’s things. I paused before entering the study. A glint of sunlight
bounced off that glass paperweight. I walked over and hefted it. It didn’t seem
nearly as heavy as I remembered. Suddenly a rush of memories returned, and at
last tears flowed: flowed for the child who was long gone; flowed for the
parents whom I had lost. When I was through crying, I suddenly realized I was left
with a renewed belief of what can be. I held onto that glass paperweight and
carried it home with me. I now look at it every day to remind me of life’s
Yesterday, I walked into my study. My four-year-old daughter was lying on the
floor with my paperweight in her hands, watching the colors bounce off the walls.
About the Author:
Ms. Stracke grew up in a home with a large library as her mother was an English professor. Her father was a salesman and traveled through several states, so he could expound on stories which he came across in his travels.