I love my old typewriter. I bought it decades ago and have moved it to a dozen houses. Yup. As in I’ve moved 12 times since I bought my old Royal.
And I realized a few months ago that it would be much more useful with a tuneup.
So the boys and I took it to the local typewriter repair shop (holla, Berkeley!) for a ribbon and an oiling.
And now, every night, I begin a letter to my children.
And then at breakfast I ask them to finish the letter.
Results are adorable, or worrisome, depending on your expectations for spelling and grammar.
Sometimes I forget, and eight-year-old Peanut does my job for me. Like dishes, but with random punctuation.
I’m keeping every page. If I were an organized person, I’d pretend I were going to make them into a book. But they will stay in the drawer, in order, and then get put in a box. And when the boys are in college I’ll do something creative with them. For now: drawer.
Especially for keepsakes like this one, where our four-year-old patience-tester unwound the whole ribbon, then made fingerprint art all over the floor and fridge.
I didn’t think too much of this daily ritual we’ve just begun until a friend sent me a link to this adorable video of children being bewildered by the existence of typewriters.
As delightful as that video is, I have to admit to being similarly baffled.
Where is the number one?
I’ve tried hitting the margin release, in case that’s a stealth 1 in disguise. Like a hidden passage in the library, but dumber.
And now I feel like the kids in the video. Did the past not have 1:00? OR 12:00? Or any of the many, many minutes in between?
What did people in the past do at 8:15? Skip straight to 8:20? Was there a lot of rounding up to the nearest anything-but-ten in history?
Were they always using the slash to designate a 1? Doubtful. Nothing says confusion like “Please print / copy.”
Did they substitute? Probably not, since typewriters use an old school font called…um, TYPEWRITER. Rather serif-y and prone to Roman Numerals. If you use a capital “i” to designate the number 1, you’re stuck using Vs and Xs for the rest of the…whatever you’re typing.
And why so wordy with the tabular key? Tab is too…’80s? Wait…I guess I mean 1880s? Except for the 1, which didn’t exist, so they went from the Dark Ages to 2000?
I’m so confused.
But I’m creating memories, dagnabbit. And that’s all that matters, 1 or no 1.