Three of my characters are fighting in World War II. They often send letters home to their various loved one (FYI: The novel is divided into Books.) I was rewriting Book II: The War Years for the third time when it occurred to me that my characters had to be writing with fountain pens. Hurrying to do some research I learned that the first ball point pen was available for public sale in Gimbel’s in 1945, just after the War. (My main character happens to work part-time in Gimbel’s)
Thinking about fountain pens brought me back to my grandmother. She wrote with fountain pens long after the ballpoint became popular. I don’t remember ever seeing her use a ballpoint. I do recall watching her write long letters to friends and stopping every so often to dip her pen in the ink and blotting every line or so with a piece of cardboard. It seemed like such an awful lot of trouble to me, but for her it was the only way to write. And now as I remember it seems like such a classy thing to do. I can’t wait to put a fountain pen in Juliana’s hand.