Most designers and writers love typewriters. And a few of us mourn the ones no longer with us.
The gray Smith Corona (with green keys) that sat on my dad’s desk, in our house in Torrance. My mom could fly on that thing. At least that’s how I remember it.
The blue Brother (electric!) I took to college in 1977. I suspect we bought it at Sears.
Grandma Jessie’s with the cursive font. I have her letters, but gosh I wish I had the typewriter, too.
The very fancy IBM Selectric (self-correcting!) that I worked on at the bank.
The 1982 matte black Brother (daisy wheel technology!) that we used for proposals and copy when we started our studio.
The Remington I picked up at a yard sale as a toy for Kate (and probably sold at a yard sale, too).
Ah, the ones that got away. What I wouldn’t give for any one of those now.
I love typewriters as much as I love world globes. And I have eight of those. But only one typewriter, and while it’s a small beauty, it doesn’t work great. My friend Melissa rescued it from her school’s dumpster and knew I’d love it. Steve had it repaired as a Christmas gift, but it’s a challenge to pound out more than a few words.
So when “Two typewriters” showed up on the neighborhood email, I responded faster than one could type qwerty. Turned out the typewriters were in storage, and yes, the owner did want money, but only $30. Turns out his wife wanted to keep the Royal, but he was happy to part with the Olympia. He sent me a link to the model, and it looked like a cool 1970’s Mad Men model. He said he thought it worked. We arranged a time for me to meet him and pick it up.
Yeah, turns out it’s not exactly like the photo. And it doesn’t exactly work. And it’s really heavy. He was a retired UC Davis Asian Studies professor, with a home full of beautiful Chinese artifacts and rugs. And one ugly ass typewriter, which he also rescued from UCD when they “switched over to computers.” He had it secured with 30-year old packing tape, which we peeled off. I typed my name, and even though I could barely read it, I called it good enough.
And now I own it.
Steve was not amused, especially when I asked him to carry it from the car to the dining room table. He may have said the big word (the one I have no trouble saying, but can’t seem to write). And he wasn’t even charmed by the cool ribbon packaging. He asked me if I even considered saying “no thanks” and the truth was, it never crossed my mind. I just thought I was in a conundrum and the solution would be moving the ugly ass typewriter from his home to mine. The Olympia had no chance to make it onto the sentimental typewriter list.
Steve said, “I hope at least you get a blog post out of this before we take it to Goodwill.”
I typed “am I a mistake?” and if you looked really close, you could make it out. It made my Optima seem pretty swell.
And that’s how they get away. I don’t think I will miss the Olympia, but I will be on the lookout for one like my Grandma Jessie’s. Now that was a typewriter! Also, keeping the typewriter ribbon box…