Tag Archives: Pencils

A Dixon Ticonderoga Adventure

Many great memories are attached to a Dixon Ticonderoga NO. 2 pencil. From my mom trying to make me a swell speller by writing words thousands of times to teaching hundreds of Space Camp staff how to give a presentation everyone likes. I have a lot of love for the world’s best pencil company. Last week, I had the honor of visiting the Dixon Ticonderoga National Museum and Fine Art Gallery in Lake Mary, Florida. It is a worthwhile trip for any educator, artist or pencil lover.

The museum and gallery are on the fifth floor of an office building in Lake Mary, Florida. To visit you must make an appointment. It is perfect for school groups local to the area. There is even an activity center for students to learn more about the amazing assortment of products the Dixon Ticonderoga brand has to offer. If you are interested in a tour, please follow this link for details.

I am very thankful to have a relationship with the corporate office of Dixon Ticonderoga through a few social media conversations with Donna Cochran. Ms. Cochran is the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Dixon Ticonderoga and the Curator of the museum and art gallery. She was so thoughtful to give me time from her day to show me the artifacts and original works of art on display for the guests of the museum.

My favorite story was about the restoration of their Norman Rockwell painting. Rockwell had been contracted to produce three works of art for the Dixon Ticonderoga company. All three of the paintings were stolen from an office in New Jersey City, NJ. Authorities did recover one of Rockwell’s works, “Grandfather & Grandson”, which has been fully restored and is on display at the art gallery. Some of their art work had been mishandled through the years. With the new gallery and museum, it can be preserved for many generations to enjoy.

The museum and gallery is currently two rooms in size, however I am sure this is just a start for the Dixon Ticonderoga museum. The artifacts on display are rich with history. Not just pencils and crayons, there are marketing graphics, company stock shares from the early years, links to many pop culture and industrial innovations. The story of the Dixon Ticonderoga is a story of our American history. A company which began when our country was just a fledgling nation can teach us many things about who we are as a country. I learned that Ford Motor company contracted with the company to make coil boxes for the Model T. These boxes were original made to sell crayons to students. Crayons even flew aboard STS-87. Amazing to think of all the places a Dixon Ticonderoga product has been.

“Not so fast my friend”! I finished my tour by visiting the back offices, which included former ESPN analyst and Dixon Ticonderoga spokesmen, Lee Corso’s office. Many people think it is just coincidence that Corso holds a Dixon Ticonderoga pencil when on College Game Day. But Mr. Corso has been affiliated with the company for years. Mr. Corso wasn’t in, but it was a treat to visit his office.

Dixon Ticonderoga really makes the best pencils and they have great people working for them. I am thankful for my mom making me use them and love them years ago! I am also thank for the time I spent with Donna Cochran and the artifacts of the Dixon Ticonderoga National Museum and Fine Art Gallary.


Looking back over my blog history I have talked a lot about many things. One blog post that was really fun to write was my 100th post. I listed my 100 favorite words. If I wrote that post today, there may be a few words that I would add or change. But for the most part it is a good representation of some of my most favorite words. One word I am certain to add as my most favorite is definitely. I use it all the time. As a matter of fact, I use it so much and yet I struggle spelling it almost every time I need to type it. At work, I have posted a note with the spelling on my computer. I love this word so much that today I will give it its very own post.

Definitely used as an adverb means, “in a clear and definite manner; unambiguously or unequivocally; positively”. To be absolutely clear or certain is something I strive for on a daily basis. However, if you know me or have spoken to me, you will know that I am certainly not absolute in my word selection. I struggle with finding the right thing to say. I am possibly the biggest hot mess when speaking in an impromptu fashion. However, if I know the words to string together in sentence or phrase, I can be clear and absolute.

The 2008 romantic comedy, Definitely, Maybe is one of my favorite movies. I love romantic comedies. The movie title is similar to my personality. I am definite… some of the times… well when I have my act together, I am absolute. I know that I can present myself in a manner reflecting that I don’t want to be questioned. However, when questioned I grow and most always learn something about why I believe and feel the way I feel. This could just be the stubborn mule gene of a hot tempered red-head. No matter how I may act in conversations or in debate, I always want clear, well defined, unambiguous borders, boundaries and rules. I like rules and I definitely need them.

I know that I am a dork, a goober, and possibly the biggest geek that works at Space Camp. However, I know who I am! Growing up I struggled with not being the cool kid or not making the best grades. Once I accepted geek-hood in the world, I definitely knew who I was. I struggled being the fish that swam upstream when all the others were swimming downstream. But I completely knew the direction I should go. The course was clearly planned out for me. I simply need to follow the breadcrumbs along the trail.

So, to summarize the positively off the wall rant on a word, a single word. I know what I want in life. I don’t say anything I truly don’t mean. I may regret those words five seconds after they vibrate off my vocal cords and enter the atmosphere. But I will learn from the regrets I have. I will leave my life with clearly defined boundaries, a loyalty to the people around me, and unquestionable love for life. Whether I am prepping for a race, helping a friend, completing a task, driving down the interstate, giving a speech about pencils or a spastic response to a question, I am definitely trying my best, even when spelling.

1388 – 2/HB

On the corner of my desk sits a coffee mug with a variety of writing utensils, a pair of scissors, various paper clips, an x-acto knife, and a glitter wand. If you are ADHD you will pick up my glitter wand and play with it, but it isn’t that great. I have a fetish with knives and cutting utensils, but I am not going to write about those things. My large banker’s clips are very useful. If you are a teacher, I suggest you purchase some, but they aren’t that important to me. I am not a coffee drinker and probably never will be one. However, my coffee mug is dear to me, because it is the guardian and protector of my Dixon Ticonderoga pencils.

Pencils and SuchWhen I taught school, I was privileged enough to spend my days and weeks with hyper active, over caffeinated, hormone driven middle school students. Yes my students were lucky to have me as well. The most overly dramatic years of a student’s life… and they had me, the obsessive organizer and math teacher. Everything in my class was color coded or classified into multiple different categories. If it could not be classified and organized, it was not found in my classroom. I had two types of pencils, public pencils – anything found on the floor, left after class or purchased at Dollar General, and private pencils – my Dixon Ticonderoga. Those were for my use only.

If I saw a student using one of my pencils I would chop off their germ covered hand. I once received an email from a parent asking where to purchase these wonderful yellow and green pencils with the excellent pink erasers. It wasn’t long after that I noticed many students using the best pencil in the world to do their homework. Some kids didn’t use them for their homework citing that they were only for geeks. I told them that was most likely true, but the kids they called geeks in middle school would later become their bosses. The geeks shall inherit the earth!

I was greatly depressed my first fall after leaving the classroom. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t have an electric pencil sharper and a cup full of pencils on my desk. Forget about molding the minds of American’s youth. I missed my pencils. I drove to Staples on a rainy October day and purchased two dozen Dixon Ticonderogas, model number 1388-2/HB. I sharpened the first box as soon as I arrived back at my desk. I don’t think I have been without a Dixon since that faithful day.

I have a diverse collection of pencils and they all have two things in common. They are all number 2 pencils and are Dixons. I have the “Tri-Write” which has a triangle wood casing and is very comfy, “My First Ticonderoga” which is oversized for small hands and the original hexagonal pencil. I even have five electric pencil sharpeners. One sharpener is battery powered for travel and journaling in foreign countries. My favorite sharpener has ten setting for different diameters of pencils.

There are not many days you will find me without a pencil tucked behind my ear. During the summer, staff members can judge how well the day is going if I have one or two tucked behind my ear. There once was a day so bad I had three jammed behind my ears, two on one side and one on the other. Last spring in a trendy Boston bar I was told I was too cool to have a pencil behind my ear. I told him the geeks shall inherit the earth. There was another time I had to explain to an astronaut over dinner what made a Dixon Ticonderoga so special. But pencils are handy to have around and I think that is why God gave us ears, to tuck pencils behind them.

I am so passionate about my Dixon Ticonderogas that I use them in a presentation each spring during counselor training. Most of the staff knows me as the pencil lady from that point forward. I have converted many staff members to writing with Dixons. Some people know more about pencils than they do about the dress code at Space Camp. They simply didn’t know how great the pencils are. There has been some staff known to break into my office and grind down the pencils to little nubs of wood. That is just mean to me and the pencils. It is a waste of good graphite.

I have read many blogs and web articles proclaiming the greatness of the Dixon Ticonderoga. I have been a disciple of the companies’ products. But it is not just because they look cool in my coffee mug. The pencils remind me of growing up in Mississippi. My mom would force me to sharpen my pencil when dull. So I learned that a Ticonderoga would hold a point longer. To irritate mom I would go weeks without sharpening it. I hated to study for spelling tests, and I was forced to write my spelling words twice as many times required by my teachers. Each week my trusty Dixon Ticonderoga would aid me in my studies.

My senior year of high school I used one Ticonderoga for my advanced math class work. From day one till graduation it was my companion. It was short and eraser less. Classmates asked me why the same pencil. I answered, “It knows all the correct answers.” It should have at least, because it had practiced every problem for home work. Some called me a geek, but you know my answer. The geeks shall inherit the earth.

There are so many memories and stories in a coffee mug. From my mom showing how much she loved me by buying me a quality pencil to missing the class room in October of 2003, I love my pencil obsession. I love the smell of a freshly sharpened box and the way eraser rubbings smell on note book paper. I love telling people how great the yellow and green pencils are and shouting in a dark theater when I see a Dixon. But most of all, I like being a geek about my pencils. So often in a world flooded by the newest, latest, greatest, fashion trend, diet pill, or electronic device, I can be different and like something as low tech as a pencil. I don’t have to be Brittney Spears or Hannah Montana to be cool, because the geeks, even the pencil geeks, shall inherit the earth.