On Hatteberg’s People, it’s easy to ask someone for a pen. We do it all the time. But when Paul Dahlberg of Lindsborg does that….he’s probably going to keep it. In his eighth decade, slowing down isn’t in his future. Having fun is.
“You know, I am proud of the fact that I’m going to be 81. I’m not old….just mature.”
In a town that is known for its Swedish heritage and creative people, Lindsborg resident Paul Dahlberg is a good fit.
“To begin with, when I would come home I would throw these pens in a box
or in a drawer. And you can imagine, as a bachelor, starting to clean house and I’d have these pens in boxes and drawers and I thought gee, I’ve got a lot of pens.”
That’s because he is a pen collector, 22,000 of them to be exact.
“In fact, when a lot of people see me coming and they’ve got a pen in their pocket, they put their hand over their pocket because they think I’m going to reach out and take it.”
He’s a retired insurance inspector, and over the years the pens just started collecting in drawers and boxes and that’s how his collection began.
“And as I start collecting these pens, I remember this business or that business. One place I made an inspection of in Wichita was a massage parlor; needless to say I didn’t get a pen there.”
At 81, he’s not your average oldster. With a motor scooter always waiting for that sun filled riding days; he’s off with his buddies for another town. Over the course of time his priorities have changed.
“It used to be collecting pens and chasing women, but the latter I discontinue, so it’s motorcycles and pens.
And back inside, most of his collection is back in his bedroom, in a closet full of suitcases.
“Nobody comes over here for the purposes of looking at my ball point pin collection except you.”
Sometimes he’ll go to a garage sale and buy a bag of pens for a dime, and get a surprise.
“I saw this thing and I thought my goodness. It’s a lighter at the top and down there is a mechanical pencil and that by the way is 14 caret gold- filled.”
“I don’t have an opportunity to show them because no one comes over to look at my pens except you.”
“As I started collecting I just remember this particular business and that particular business and I just found them so interesting.
There is a robot boxing pen, the orange cone pen, and the traditional Mt. Blanc pens – all with stories, all collected by a man whose sense of humor keeps him young.
“A lot of them I stole, most of them were given to be of course.”
“It is just kind of crazy isn’t it?”
“Just kind of crazy.”