So, that picture from my contact page – that’s my old typewriter. At one point, I owned a 1939 Smith Corona flat top. With the travel case and everything. It was, and probably still is, a fantastic typewriter. I got it for five bucks at a garage sale when I was a university student. And then I hardly used it.
I was a university student. When I wasn’t using a computer to write papers for my English degree, I was using computers to edit video for my media production degree. So yeah, the typewriter didn’t get more than recreational use. And then I skipped the country.
The typewriter spent about 15 years in a closet in my parents home, until my most recent trip back to visit them. So, yeah, it was probably time to let it go. If you can leave something in a closet on a different continent for 15 years, you probably don’t need it in your life.
But everything needs closure. So I sat down with an American Flag Mug™ of coffee and banged out some correspondence the old fashioned way. My friend Holger has a thing for actual letters, so he seemed to be a logical recipient for a letter.
I typed out a few letters. There was something magical and cathartic about the very physical nature of the manual typewriter, and at the same time, there was something amusingly frustrating about the permanence of typos in that format. Of course, it was only amusing because it isn’t something I had to do, it was something I was doing for enjoyment. I’d imagine if it was my job to get it right the first time, I would have been significantly more frustrated with the experience.
It was probably the last chance I will have in my lifetime to type a letter on such a beautiful piece of history. And I will remember that tactile experience for decades. Probably until the senility sets in.
It was a fantastic bit of closure, reliving one last time what was so great and wonderful about a classic piece of American history, and yet being fully aware of it’s flaws, and of why it has passed into historical record. I was really happy that the woman who came to buy it off of me was so happy to have it. It’s a museum piece, and I hope that it gets taken care of as such.