Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Typewriter Day

Today is national typewriter day (June 23).  I don't know the particulars of this history or why June 23 holds this prominent place, but it does.

As for my own history with the typewriter, let me explain.

For my 12th birthday I asked my parents for a typewriter.  My father looked at me as if I were an alien species, a bird from another planet.  He could not understand why I would waste a birthday wish on something as useless as a typewriter.  "What are you going to do with it?" he asked.

"Type on it," was my reply.

You ask a stupid question . . . .

My parents, I know, lived to regret that first manual typewriter--a blue Corolla that became, even way back then, my pecking companion in the wee hours of the night.  I wrote my first "real" stories on that typewriter, mainly science fiction and humor, and learned many years later (from my mother) that my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. McGee, thought I had "great potential."

Perhaps that was enough.  But in high school I wasted another birthday wish on an electric typewriter and received, this time, a sleek, blue Corolla with both ribbon and erasable cartridges.  Here I typed my first lengthy work, including a few book-length manuscripts, and this was the typewriter that saw me through both college and seminary. 

Looking back, I don't know how I managed to type those lengthy papers on this machine, but that typewriter was definitely a workhorse.  And there was a special kinship between writer and typewriter, an affinity stirruped to the keyboard, with words flowing from the mind, to the fingers, to the white bond paper with a sharp blat blat blat blat that is missed now with our quiet, humming PCs. 

Even yet, there is something that stirs in me, a desire to type.  Writing on a typewriter actually made a person feel like a writer.  Typewriters, after all, are made for writing.

Happy national typewriter day. 


Joy Starks said...

I had a selectric typewriter that I absolutely loved. I typed over 100 words per minute on that thing. Probably because of all the piano lessons. In any case, the skills I learned on that typewriter have put my children through college. It's a lost art!

Todd Outcalt said...

I liked those selectrics, too. I'm not sure how many words a minute I could, or do, type. I know that typing was the worst grade I received in high school, but it's now the only "skill" I use every day.