I’m a gadget girl at heart. And as I grow older, I’m finding that I want to recapture my youth, and the past. For the past three or four weeks, I’ve been trying to get into a shop here in town to see the lady’s typewriters.
I’ve been searching for one particular brand for several years. The brand I remember from my childhood, that was my parent’s old model, that they used when we, my brother, sister, and I, weren’t even out of diapers yet. A Smith Corona Sterling Typewriter.
The last memory I have of that particular technology was my Mother and I arguing over it as she typed up my final honors essay when I was in high school. Boy do I wish I had those notes. We had to do a comparison of literature, of an author’s works, and I can’t remember the author at the moment, but my parent’s still have the books up on the book shelves that are in our house.
I can vaguely remember the notepad, the red marks that my mother had penciled across the page, correcting my grammar and spelling, or making me do it. I’m sure she made me do it because she was that kind of teacher. I have a learning disability. I can’t hear my vowels, and must memorize the spelling of each word no matter what. To this day, I am thankful for those that invented the computer, but know that I must return to that age-old habit of proofing by hand. Printing out a copy of work, sitting down and diligently reading the pages to find my mistakes.
Typing on that, and this typewriter was and is a chore. There is nothing like the tat-tat-tat sound of your fingers hitting the keys, and the typebars hitting the paper. The ding of that bell when you hit the return mark. The keys aren’t like a computer. You have to work for the words, work for story to come alive on the page. Writing takes an effort.
I had a Smith Corona Coronet as an undergrad at Penn State. A yellow and brown, electric model from the early ’80s. Cut the effort in half, but still you had to work your mind, work your fingers to produce the manuscript. Two cartridges always at hand, or more. One correction, and one black ribbon or black/red combination. It was a dance when you made a mistake, spit out the black one, insert the correction, spit out that, and insert the black one.
Tener Hall had these large two-story common rooms. The first part of the semester they were full of students because we were always overcrowded. Eventually, rooms were found, and those in the common room were filtered out to other dorms. I can remember staying up late in that common lounge and composing my English 15, 30 papers, the sounds echoing harshly around me. To this day, I think I was the only one that had a typewriter or it was because my horrible roommate kicked me out of the room because of the sound. Or I was polite, and left. I’m sure the latter. I just remember that model was a bitch to lug around. And now I’m back to that Smith Corona model that was always tucked away in a closet…and yes, it is as heavy as I remember…and light…
I’m glad I found it. It’s not the same as the one we had in the house for the space bar I remember was white, not blue. Yet, I could be wrong.
Now I just have to find typewriter ribbons…and that beautiful, thin, onion skin paper that I was so found of…swiping from the box in my Grandfather’s bedroom… to use to draw upon, and even write…