new year, new pens

It’s always great to acquire fountain pens, whether vintage or modern. It’s even more special when you receive them at the beginning of the year – it connotes good omens and all manner of auspicious blessings.

I’m fortunate to have friends who love the same things I do and love me enough to help me indulge my hobby.

Cheers to law student Raffy Abrina, who patiently pounds the pavements near Far Eastern University searching for little nibbed treasures, because in some pockets of Manila, at old school-and-office supplies shops in Recto and Morayta, one can still find new-old-stock fountain pens tucked away in dusty glass cases.

He turned up some Pilot goodies last week that are unusual, affordable, and quality writers.

Pilots touch down for a landing: green schoolpen, teal 55, stainless-and-white Birdie, two Elite longshorts, a pink Birdie. All have stickers or engravings that say “F”. But the 55 writes like an extra-fine and the longshorts like mediums.

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The nibs are steel. Knowing the durability and reliability of Pilots, these’ll last for a long time. All have aerometric fills.

Applause to Mona Caccam, who kindly overlooked my tardiness at an ink buy and spent the time waiting for me at the University of the Philippines Shopping Center. There, she found practical items like a 30-ml glass bottle with a plastic stopper – great for taking along a small amount of ink! She gave me one and told me where to get more.

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Glass bottle from Mona, filled with my own blend of Waterman Violet and Parker Blue-Black. It’s always good to have some ink in your bag, in case you run out or need ink for dipping.

Much gratitude to Jowell Tan, realtor and horseracing enthusiast, who gifted me with an heirloom Parker 51. It was restored by Butch Palma, businessman and pen friend, who re-assembled the fill system and cleaned up the cap and barrel. It now looks like Cinderella at the ball.

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Antique Parker 51. Photo by Butch Palma.

Big hugs and much thanks to Annie Laurie Merginio-Murgatroyd, a friend from way back during the ’80s at Pasay City Adventist Academy. She was a high school senior and I was in sixth grade elementary when we became friends. We’ve kept touch through the years, and she has always sent tokens like Beanie Baby toys for my daughters and now this remarkable fountain pen.

The markings on the barrel say it’s a Shule 2212. From the name, I presume it is a Chinese brand. Like its compatriot, the Hero, it’s a sturdy, no-nonsense, take-charge kind of pen that will prove invaluable as a daily road warrior.

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The Shule 2212. Its clip has a roller. The nib is a hooded type and nail-stiff, ideal for extended periods of writing. The body is stainless steel. A writing sample made with the Shule is on the bottom left, in purple Waterman ink. The blue cursive writing sample is made with a vintage 1920s Moore with a flexible nib, inked with Private Reserve Naples Blue.

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The Shule has an aerometric fill system.

I am happy to have these things. But more than that, I am very thankful for the friends who found them or gave them to me.

In communication parlance, I’d say that the things are a sign or expression of the message that they are sending. As the receiver, I interpret the message as, “I’m your friend and I care this much.”

I value true friendship above all, because it is harder to find than fountain pens and ink.

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