For the Love of a Typewriter



Typewriters once were utilitarian; something you used to get the words on the paper in the fastest, most efficient way possible. They were useful, everyday, and sometimes annoying; especially when the ribbon wore out or you made a mistake and had to go through the hassle of wite-out or correction tape. You learned to type in school because it was as necessary as cursive and balancing a checkbook. The clack of the keys and the ding of the bell when you reached the end of a line were just a part of life. As a child, I went to sleep to the sound of my father typing downstairs as he worked on articles and talks.

Then typewriters were replaced with word processors and now computers. Typewriters are outdated and unnecessary but I love them. I love the sounds they make, the feel of the keys, and the belief they provide that at any moment you are going to write something worth reading.

I have wanted a typewriter for a long time but have never found just the right one at a thrift shop. I really wanted one from the 1940s because I have always been interested in that time period. Eventually, I started stalking typewriters on eBay but it was hard to judge the condition and frequently the shipping costs were prohibitive. However, I am not someone who gives up easily and finally, I found it--an Underwood Champion from the 1940s for a reasonable price in very good condition. I bought it immediately.

It is just as amazing as I thought it would be.

I spent some time cleaning it and making some adjustments. I bought a new ribbon and some onion skin paper. I had to relearn to type because I had forgotten just how hard you have to hit the keys. But now I am all set. I sit down at my typewriter, poise my fingers over the keys and vanish into another time period.

I am a journalist working on a weekly paper determined to prove I can write just as well as the men. I am a young woman writing to my fiance who is in a prisoner-of-war camp. I am sitting cross-legged on the grass in a meadow with a flask of tea by my side writing my novel. I am a literary lion dashing off a letter to my publisher.

I am just me waiting to see what words materialize.




9 comments

  1. an ode to a typewriter!beautiful

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely. I saw a whole shop full of old typewriters - in Portugal of all places but, not cheap, it seemed like it was someone's beloved collection that they really didn't want to sell. I'm sure yours will give you a lot of joy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Typewriters can go for a surprising amount of money. I am glad I found such a bargain and I am certainly having fun with it. I have always wanted to visit Portugal.

      Delete
  3. Oh the memories. Fifty years ago I was sitting on the grass at Cape Cod typing your father's newspaper column so it could be submitted on time even while he was on vacation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew it! I remember a photo of you sitting on the grass typing. I didn't know it was one of Dad's newspaper columns though.

      Delete
  4. I'm so happy you found a typewriter that suits you :-) I hope you showcase it frequently!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Here on your blog or on Instagram, I mean.)

      Delete
    2. I am sure it will appear frequently!

      Delete