Bright Things

Bright Things #7: Granny’s Calculator

One of the themes of The Memory Collectors is our relationship to physical objects — the memories, emotions, and power they hold for us. Every week leading up to the book’s release, I’ll share the story of an object that’s special to me.

I can’t remember when my grandmother gave this to me, but she passed away in 1999, and it’s lived in the junk drawer of a dozen homes, so it was a while ago. This isn’t a valuable object. I think Granny got it for free with her Reader’s Digest subscription.
I have more beautiful and more meaningful mementos of her, but this calculator is something I use almost daily, especially now that I’m working from home (finance is a big part of my day job). Sure, I could’ve brought my proper accounting calculator home from the office, but does my work calculator have bejeweled buttons that make a loud and satisfying clackety sound when you hit them? (It does not.)
Granny was a school principal and a teacher. Fun fact! Granny grew up in Iowa and lived in the Canadian prairies before she made it to BC, where I was eventually born. In the 1930s, she was principal of the same small-town Saskatchewan elementary school that my future husband would attend in the 1980s. Anyway, chances were good that if you went to visit Granny, you’d get a math lesson at some point, and since Granny lived in a suite on the second floor of our house, I got a lot of math lessons. She wouldn’t have let me use a calculator back then but for me, numbers and Granny go hand in hand, and this old gadget with its flashy buttons (she was also a sucker for shiny things) keeps her memory close.


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