I was cleaning one of my rooms and found an old tape case I converted into a briefcase I used for carrying player info for role-playing back in the day. I know I acquired the case from my sister, and I also know that I ripped the tape holder portion out of the container to allow books and papers to fit. Once this was done, I was left with a cardboard base for stability and a material holder that was a makeshift briefcase precursor to a messenger bag.
I know I had this bag sitting around, but had no idea what was in it until I opened it the other day. I was shifting things around, so I had better access to the rest of the room but made a path to the two bookcases that house all of my old role-playing books. Once I had access, I was able to reach the case and took it aside to open it.
Peeking in, I saw two books, a portfolio, and sheets of paper. I immediately realized what this was, and knowing that, took the top book out to investigate what the documents were. As I held the book, I noticed it was covered with something. Having had papers in Florida for years, I realize that they are susceptible to being eaten by bugs or deteriorating due to age. Feeling the grit that was on the book did not please me, and I decided I would wait for another day to deal with this. Time would not change the fact that the books were damaged.
Today was that other day. I opened the case in my garage, in case there were bugs in there, they can roam in an environment I would not mind splattering them. There was a pack of cards in the receptacle that seemed the easiest to access. Pulling the cards out, I noticed that they were covered in the same grit as the book I felt the other day. It was all black and came off without much effort. Once wiping the blackness off the cards, they were as good as new. I had two dice in the case as well, and they were also covered. Doing the same thing as the cards, I cleaned them. Some of the pips held on to the dust and required a bit of air to clean, but they too were good as new. I repeated this with all the books and papers in the case and was left with the dust in the corner above.
I also realized that two sheets of paper that were in the case, once seen above, was now blank. I recalled that this was a place I was keeping my characters from role-playing and I used to write them in pencil so they could be altered as needed.
So, the question is: Is the black grit the remnants of what used to be on the pages? If that is the case, does this mean pencils are not as a permanent record as suggested compared to other forms of record keeping? What have you written in pencil that you thought might last forever?
Now I’m concerned about writing notes I took over the years. I know the pages had the weight of the books on top of them at some point and the impressions of writing were no longer there. I also know that they are now blank and whatever might have been on there is gone.
Comments are welcome. What do you think?