Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Typewritten Wonder

Sometime last year, my family and me went antiquing. That isn't anything new, as we have one of our favorite flea market / antique malls nearby that my mother and grandmother have affectionately dubbed 'The Haunt'. But beside the Haunt is a little thrift store we all decided to go and explore for the first time. The inside was jam-packed with everything from clothes to golf-clubs. From the middle to the back of the store was nothing but racks and racks of clothes, while trinkets and furniture littered the front windows. 

Curious, I broke from the pack and meandered along the junks and such in the front window. I think my mother was the one who pointed out the lone typewriter sitting among some other things, and, being a writer and poet, I was instantly taken with it. We turned it over (which was a feat because it was so heavy!), but we could not for the life of us find a price. So we asked the two friendly women at the counter how much it was. After some funny glances between themselves, they apparently realized that they honestly had no idea and had even forgotten it was there. So, they offered it to me for a dollar. (Almost the price of a king-sized candy bar!)

I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to walk out the door and leave it behind, but something in the back of my head was telling me to go back in with my little one dollar bill and adopt the old little creature. 

I did, and I carried it out of the building and to the car like a proud mother. The women at the counter had laughed and smiled when I came charging back in, mind changed. Even though it couldn't write for me, I insisted that, if technology crashed sometime in the future, this little baby would be a dream to have on hand. Ringing up my purchase, they laughed and agreed with me.

And that's how I got my little typewriter.

It's old, though how old I don't know, as there is no date on it that I can see. The only way my little 90s' born self can tell that it is old, aside from the rust, is that on the inside of the case it says, ' Case Made In Italy. Typewriter Made In Holland.'

Okay, to me, seeing something like that in the U.S. that was made in European countries tells me my little dollar typewriter is pretty ancient here. Okay, not ancient, but you know.... It's unusual, at least to me. 

Looking it up, I see many pictures of other Remington typewriters -- some clones, some considerably older. I wonder when my little baby was made...?

She is covered in dust on the inside, and when I open her case a waft of oily-machine smell comes out. Oily and antique-y, like what I would expect an old factory to smell like. (The Haunt is in fact an old factory and smells like this in some places, though not as strongly as my typewriter.) Her keys are bright and intact, and everything seems to be there and in good shape...just unused. Dusty, dirty...where has this old girl been? What stories would she tell about who has written on her and what they have written? If I could stick some batteries in her and zap her into life like my key-clad mechanical Frankenstein, would she write me pages and pages of her history, or would she be ashamed by her dull past and refuse to say a word...?

Either way, I think I would listen intently regardless.

EDIT: After much careful examination, my mother has pointed out that my typewriter is missing its front and side covers, which would explain why all of its insides are outside.....And my fingers are stiff from pounding on the typewriter keys -- writing on a keyboard know feels funny!