Random thoughts on old buildings, “new” clothes, French pencil cases

I enjoy driving through Wellesley, Mass. and looking at its historical buildings. Check out Wellesley’s town hall, for example:

I suppose there are many New England towns whose buildings are equally historic if not more historic. It turns out Wellesley’s town hall was built in 1881.  That’s fairly recent compared with, say, Wright’s Tavern in downtown Concord.

That structure, the site of the committees of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress on the eve of the American Revolution, was built in 1747. I visited the tavern in October:

While Wright’s Tavern isn’t as pretty as Wellesley’s town hall, its age alone is pretty impressive.

Another historical building I enjoy that’s just a little older than Wellesley’s town hall is the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.

I had the opportunity to see the church again this past summer:

The church, an example of Victorian Gothic architecture, was completed in 1872.

In other random musings, I’ve been appreciating some recent acquisitions of mine.

This past weekend my sister gave me a bunch of her clothes she doesn’t want anymore.

These are a few of the items:

I must say these clothes couldn’t have come at a better time! At this moment I don’t have much money to spend on clothes. Plus, I am sick of the clothes I have. So yeah for hand-me-downs (if your sister is younger do you call them “hand-me-ups?”)!

And the next random topic I will address is that of French pencil cases. If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in France you have likely noticed that pretty much all French students carry around pencil cases.

On the surface this may not sound interesting, but let me delve a little deeper.

Unlike in the United States, it’s not only the young students who carry around pencil cases. Go to any university and you will see those students reaching into their respective pencil cases for writing utensils.

Their pencil cases generally contain pencils, pens in a variety of colors like red, blue and green, and a ruler. Many French people are so methodical the way they take notes that they use a certain colored pen for a certain type of note and another colored pen for another type of note.

They underline certain parts of their notes with the help of a ruler and the lines of the graph paper they tend to use. It’s quite entertaining watching them put all of this effort into producing good notes.

But the effort seems to pay off– their notes (at least the ones I’ve seen) look really nice!

Hmmm, what can we interpret from this? Maybe not that much. But I would dare to say it reflects, to some degree, the relative standardization of educational practices in France and the relative value placed on style as a counterbalance to substance.

Here are two pencil cases I got while in France:

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