The Typewriter

I went for a walk this evening after the rain with my daughter and a friend. We strolled along Public Road in Old Lafayette, stopping here and there, chatting all the while, when we wandered into a small shop that offered an eclectic mix of new and vintage treasures.  The owner, Z, was a fellow southerner, and quite pleasant to visit with. During our conversation, my daughter noticed an old typewriter sitting on a small writing table just inside the door.  She caught my eye, and her interest was clear, so I asked her “Do you know what that is?”  Surprisingly, she did, and Z offered up a few details about it.  It was in pristine condition, and worked perfectly. A piece of paper was rolled into the machine already, so Z invited my daughter to give it a try.  She pushed a few of the keys, taken back by how different typing on the relic from days gone by was from keyboarding on her laptop.  Z then called my attention to a similar typewriter, an Underwood, circa 1908, that was prominently displayed in the window.  This particular typewriter, unlike its counterpart that we were first introduced to had a bit of dust on it, and rust had begun to etch a pattern in the original chrome trim.  The keys were worn, and the old machine was simply too tired to tell any more tales. Perfect! This typewriter had stories that were still untold, I could feel them, and there was still magic in its keys, even if they could no longer talk. It emitted a positive energy, and I imagined the previous owner, sitting in front of it, just him and the typewriter, complete absorbed in the story he was telling.  It needed a good home, a final resting place, and I would provide the perfect spot.  Z, sensing my delight in the find, made me a deal, and I paid for my new friend. As I walked out, it struck me that I had just briefly traveled back in time and been yanked back to the present the next instant.  The 1908 Underwood, sitting on the counter while Z ran my card, and the 2013 Samsung Gallaxy, next to it, waiting for my signature to authorize payment, represented marvels of their respective eras.  Three hundred years of history was sitting, for a moment, right there in front of me. History came home with me, and the profoundness of it is still fresh, for the fabulous typewriter, with all of its charm, is here on my desk.  My laptop, splendid and modern, may make writing easier and more efficient, but the early twentieth-century Underwood, sitting close by, adds an extra dose of enchantment. Thank you, Z. Authors sometimes have sundry sentimental treasures that inspire their writing.  What paraphernalia provides inspiration for you?

English: Underwood typewriter. Model No. 5

English: Underwood typewriter. Model No. 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 thoughts on “The Typewriter

  1. Being a very disciplined person myself, and knowing that Amy is not yet rolling in money, I was a bit concerned when after appreciating the old working typewriter, Amy fell in love at first sight with Underwood. Wow! No hesitation; no momentary thought of “Can I afford this?” She was head over heels in an intense relationship with Underwood from the moment she saw him. Amy’s awe, appreciation, wonder, and connection with this beautiful old typewriter gushed so strongly that all of the rest of us in the shop were impressed with the power of Amy’s emotions. This was not just an emotional response, though. Amy immediately shared the free-flow of ideas and images of past, present, and future which Underwood signified. This handsome antique, Amy knew, was more than just a nice find in a neat shop on Public Road. It had history and meaning that would need to be pondered over years…. And thus my own initial hesitancy to embrace Amy’s find melted away. Underwood was already inspiring Amy. What could I think or say–other than to congratulate Amy on such a great encounter, and on the beginning of a great new relationship.


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