Where I Work
Forty-three years ago, during my first year of law school, I saw two old long, narrow law school desks in a dark back hallway of the old Southwestern University building in Los Angeles. I stopped in the office and was told the desks were being thrown out and that I could have one if I wanted. I did.
I hauled it home, sanded out decades of scratches and carved initials, and refinished it.
In the years that followed, I sat at the desk through the duration of law school, studied for and passed the bar exam, hauled it to and from Washington, D.C., wrote a number of books on it, practiced public interest law from behind it, including the Holocaust Denial Case, negotiated the publication of the suppressed Dead Sea Scrolls, and finally moved it into the study when we purchased our home ten years ago.
A couple of years ago, returning to Long Beach after almost two months on the road and in the air, flying across and driving up and down both coasts of America, my wife, Helen, decided it was time to clean out and repaint the study. And… while we were at it, perhaps I should also refinish some of the furniture, including my old desk which was showing her age – possibly approaching the century mark.
The desk is six-foot long, 16-inches wide, solid oak, with carved trestle legs. It cleaned up nicely, took the dark stain, received six coats of satin finish, and several coats of wax. She has never looked better.
My computer and printer are back in place, the keyboard and mouse tray slide in where the drawer used to be, small wood file cabinets are at each end, warm heater at my feet, my comfortable chair is in front of it – I no longer had an excuse. It was time to get back to writing. I had several completed manuscripts to get published, another half done, and a stack of articles to write, but I thought I should take a few minutes to share a story about an old dependable friend who’s been with me for a very long time.
More recently, our daughter, Naomi graduated from college, got a good job and moved into her own apartment. Helen took over Naomi’s bedroom for an art studio and vacated the study we had shared for 12 years. I decided to make good use of the extra space.
The primary problem with my old law school desk is the very small table top which does not allow me much room to spread out files and papers when I am working. I solved this problem by building a nine-foot long credenza, with cabinets on each side of three wooden file cabinets, and a book case on top to hold large hard-bound books.
The drawing on the wall in the center of the bookcase is of my bedroom in Skinny House which depicts the bed and wall unit I built back then.
I now have even less of an excuse to complete my writing tasks.