Pneumatic Joy

It’s time for another of MomGoth’s little Sparks o’ Joy. Even with medication, sometimes the anxiety and/or depression leaks through, and it takes an act of will to press through it. Before meds, people had to press through anyway…or not. Old obituary columns are full of suicides, which I learned from the Hoosier Elm Chapter of the DAR‘s wonderful collections from the archives of our local papers.

Much better today, thank you. The cloud always lifts, eventually.

Anyway, I had a counselor who told me to look for small things that give me joy, and that’s been the best advice ever. Of course, it does get you some very odd looks, when you take photographs of things like this. Especially when such a thing is part of a bank. I’m surprised they didn’t call the cops and arrest me on probable cause for casing the joint. (For those who don’t know, that means looking it over to find out the best way to rob it.)pneumatic tube

This is a pneumatic tube. I love them. Why? I don’t know. I guess because it seemed like magic when I was little. Department stores used to have them, to send orders and…I don’t know…stuff…from the sales counters to…someplace else. There’s a cylinder of plastic with a hinge on one side and a latch on the other, and you open it and put something in–your check or cash or whatever–and close it and put it in the bay and push the green button and…wiggle…foompf! off it goes, just like Augustus Gloop in the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka movie. I’d show you a picture, but everything hijacks me to the Johnny Depp one, and that was a different pneumatic experience. In other words, the Depp version, much as it pains me to say it, kind of sucks.

Anyway, pneumatic tubes are sparks o’ joy for me. I’m so lucky they’re still around. If I could find a store that still sends orders and stuff around in little wire baskets that slide around on cords above the clerks’ heads, I would stand, charmed, suffused with happiness.

Before my church remodeled its kitchen, we had a rotary phone in there, and kids LOVED to use it, although they had to ask one of us old folks to explain how. And I remember how our #4 daughter reacted when I explained carbon paper to her–she thought that was SO COOL AND CLEVER, that you could make multiple copies of something in one go, rather than generating multiple copies on the printer or copier. And she was right.

WRITING PROMPT: Write about something low-tech that gets the job done.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Pneumatic Joy

  1. Leslie R. Lee

    September 24, 2010 at 12:37pm

    Pneumatic tubes are always amazing and fun. The bank was the only place I got a chance to use one before ATM’s pushed them close to the realm of slide rules and rotary phones. Hoping the clouds hand you silver and rainbows.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      September 24, 2010 at 1:34pm

      Thanks! 🙂 Silver and rainbows are muscling down the door and coming in with roscoes in both mitts, ready for trouble and loving every minute. In other words, I’m getting better. 🙂

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