The year was 1966. I was 9 years old and had just started the fourth grade at St. Mark’s grade school in Peoria. When my mom questioned me about what school supplies I needed, I asked her to buy me a mechanical pencil (refillable lead pencil). I had asked for a mechanical pencil in the past, but was told that I didn’t need one. When my mom returned from the store, she surprised me with a new mechanical pencil.