WLS July 23, 2012

WLS July 23, 2012

About fifth grade I started using a fountain pen for school work. It was a cheap Sheaffer cartridge pen; the kind that had a clear barrel and a chrome cap. I don’t remember it (or any of its successors) lasting very long, but it was easily replaceable at the corner drugstore about 100 yards from our front door. This was in the late 1950’s and ballpoints were just getting really popular, so about seventh or eighth grade I switched to the new fad and tossed out the fountain pens.

Fast forward to about 1996. Mom had passed away and Dad was in very poor health and needed help with almost every daily chore. My brother and I both pitched in. One of the tasks I ended up with was to do his bookkeeping. I used his Sheaffer Targa fountain pen, always filled with Skrip Emerald Green ink, to write the checks to pay his bills. The pen wrote so well I fell in love with it and decided that I needed a fountain pen of my own. I told my wife about it and for my next birthday I received a Sheaffer Connaisseur. That pen wrote every bit as well as the Targa, but the plastic body was easily scratched. The indestructible Targa remained my favorite pen.

I bought a couple more fountain pens, not Sheaffer’s, and didn’t like them as well. Then I discovered eBay and that there were lots of Targas out there. Lots and lots of different Targas, so I decided to collect them. Dad was gone by then so he never knew that his modest Matte Black Targa with Chrome Trim had grown into a huge collection. There are now 151 Targa fountain pens in a collection that includes 88 distinct models and many minor variations. There are also 48 Targa ballpoints, 11 Targa pencils and 7 desk Targas.

I’ve had a lot of fun hunting Targas and there are still a few left to find. The last few are elusive so they’ll probably take longer than the 151 that I’ve already found. But that’s OK, the fun is in the hunt. After all, I would have to find something else to do if the hunt ever ended.