Fond Memories of My Old Mead Cambridge Planner

[Disclaimer: Unless you enjoy reading about old school planners, this post may not be your cup of tea.] 

I’m not sure whether or not I’ve ever talked about the start of my planning journey, so here goes:

Started planning when I was in college using an A5 sized Mead Cambridge planner, that funny enough had three rings instead of the standard six. Go figure. I bought it at Walgreens and it was my preciousss. 

Just like my old one, only mine was dark green instead of black.

That planner held everything; homework assignments, projects, fundraisers (I used to be in a sorority and was also involved in student government), and family/home stuff—literally the entire contents of my brain back then. 

It didn’t look pretty. I never put washi tape in it (I’m not sure washi tape existed then), and if I didn’t use washi then you know I also never used a sticker in it. 

This was before I learned about things I would come to really love (like fountain pens and gel pens and awesome paper). And since I was clueless in that regard, I used whatever ballpoint was available to me at the time. Random pen from a restaurant? Sure! Tacky ballpoint with random dentist’s name, address and phone number on it? Gimme it. Scribble, scribble. 

I shudder at the memory. 

So no, my pages were never decorated, but my planner was 100% fully functional. And wonder of wonders: it worked. It was only when I didn’t write something down that chaos would ensue, and so the Mead Cambridge became my B.F.F.  in analog form. 

The only “decor” I added every now and then was a quote, or something I’d found in a magazine. I’d cut it out and tape it in anywhere—planner pages, dividers, any place with white space, anywhere minus on the binder itself. 

Like I said, it had only three rings and boy were they crappy. Within about four months of using the planner, the rings began gapping. A helpful friend suggested I try and fix them MacGyver-style by holding them shut overnight with…I want to say a wrench?

It worked for a little while until the dreaded gap returned a couple months later, so I got used to turning the pages carefully and always holding the end of the paper so it wouldn’t get caught on the gap. 

I hadn’t yet discovered things like traveler’s notebooks or leather notebook covers. If they existed back then, I was oblivious as well as limited in my cash flow, thanks to my part time minimum wage job at the time. Not complaining, cause it allowed me to buy that Mead in the first place; just stating facts.

This was also long before I could browse  online and shop from home at my leisure in pajamas. 

(Have I dated myself enough in this post? Ha!)

Anyway, that old Mead binder was my trusty companion for years. I often slept with it on my nightstand in case I thought of something else and needed to write it down. 

Come to think of it, I treated it a lot like a commonplace book—a catch all—before commonplace notebooks were all the rage they are today. 

My Mead Cambridge also had a handy-dandy pocket in the back where I usually slipped in my class schedule at the beginning of semesters—or party invites. It was great for work and play, and was professional-looking enough with the zip-around to take on interviews. I looked and felt smart carrying it in my arms, but when I opened it, believe me, it was the hot mess express and only made sense to me.

Like I mentioned before, ballpoints were my writing instrument of choice back then. 

{Side-note: Ballpoint Rant—I want to say I’m sorry if you love ballpoints—I really am—but try as I might to like them, I just don’t. Ballpoint ink has this weird odor to it and whenever it’s time to put a ballpoint to work, I always get that annoying line indentation on my paper and no ink until I’ve created several line indentations. So to sum up: ballpoints are frustrating, they’re fussy, and they smell funny, so nope not a fan. (#sorrynotsorry) End Rant.} 

And not just any ballpoints, no. I used whatever was available—so there could be multiple color inks on one page, for no particular reason as I never could get into using color coding as a tool no matter how cool I think it looked/sounded.

So we have messy, and let’s not forget ugly because (and maybe this happens to you too) whenever I’m in a hurry, my writing becomes incredibly sloppy. 

My handwriting, even on a good day, is not as pretty/straight as I’d like. I have a relative whose handwriting literally looks like a font. It’s unfair but such is life. 

After several years of faithful service, the Mead Cambridge finally died on me. The hard plastic liner inside of the fabric lining broke in pieces and started poking holes through the fabric itself. It began looking like something I’d pulled out of the trash, so it was time to replace my planner. 

(For the record, I can no longer imagine what it’s like to use only one planner to it’s literal death. And I’m also not ashamed to admit that I have more than one either. And that they’re NICE.) #zeroshame

I ventured back out to Walgreens for a new planner. Compared to other stores, my Walgreens had prices that were in my budget. I was saddened they no longer sold the Cambridge planner, so I settled on a smaller spiral bound notebook style planner, with a lined week on two pages. And this is how I began my relationship with the infamous “week on two pages” style of planning. Until then, I’d been using daily pages. (Which I eventually returned to as they are my happy place.) 

The years went by and I never put much thought into my planners anymore. It became just a datebook for appointments, meetings, dates, etc.

It seemed my love affair with planners had fizzled out. 

Until I got my first fancy (read: expensive) planner, a Classic Filofax Slimline Cross.

It was a very dark burgundy-brown color and because it was a slim, the rings remained tight throughout it’s lifetime. I used that Filofax for 7-8 years, then lost it during a move, only to find it years later. The leather had some kind of adhesive stuck to it and though I managed to get it off, the leather was permanently stained. I think I either donated it or gave it to my brother who didn’t mind the discoloration.

My first buttery soft leather experience was with a Filofax Slimline Cross that looked just like this one.

Because I’d had such a positive experience with the brand, I became a devotee to Filofax, and even owned several of them at one point—a Malden, an Original, and a Saffiano. I ended up loving the Malden most of all, so I sold the others and kept the Malden.

We were very happy until…

I discovered traveler’s notebooks. 

I’ll save that story for another day though. *wink*  

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  



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