I went to the office with Dad

adding maching paper

I sat in the back of my father’s car, fidgeting with excitement.  My brother, three years older, was next to me.  It was Saturday, and it was our turn to go to the office with Dad.  It was my first time, but I knew what to expect.  We had heard from our older brother and sister what the office was like, and I had seen the things our father had given them to play with and bring home.  Wonderful things that could only come from my father’s office – a long green accounting pad, with columns in place for purposes I didn’t understand.  There were pens, pencils – and my absolute favorite thing, a curled up paper from an office adding machine, perfect for stretching out and watching it snap and curl back up.   Perfect for making telescopes and paper swords and going to battle with my brother.  I couldn’t wait!

We drove, my father, my brother and I, and I felt safe in the back seat of his car, going into Newark and deep into the underground parking lot, navigating turns and finally coming to a stop.  We took the elevator to his floor and entered his office.  I searched the room for the adding machine.  “Dad, can I add some numbers?” my brother asked.  “Me too!” I shouted.  I could already hear the clicking sounds and feel my fingers on the number pads.  Our father smiled and took us to a different room and set us up with the adding machines.  I punched the key pads wildly and watched as the paper advanced and curled, just as I had dreamed of in the car.  I knew I would be walking out with a fat tube of that wonderful paper and wondered if my brother was as excited as I was.

I don’t know how much work my father did that Saturday at the office or on the other Saturdays that came later.  I didn’t understand the work he did, and I didn’t think to ask.  I was too excited to think about anything except myself.  And as I sat in the back seat of his car on the ride home, fencing my brother with our paper swords, I couldn’t have said it, but I felt happy and proud to be the small girl whose dad worked in a big office.

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