The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN: THE UNKNOWN HISTORY OF A TYPEWRITER…
Let me introduce you to my 1936 Royal De Luxe typewriter. It’s my favorite kind of typewriter, too. It’s portable and manual and has a carrying case for easy transport. It types well and the bell that sounds at the end of the set margin with just the perfect tone when it rings.
Of the four typewriters I own (as of this writing), it is my favorite.
And I have no idea its history.
When it comes to checking out eBay or Etsy or the Facebook marketplace for typewriters for sale, I wonder if they are in good condition and how well they have held up over the years. It’s not until I buy one and they end up on my doorstep and I open the box and haul out this heavy writing machine do I wonder where it’s been and what it’s done. Having a very vivid imagination (another reason why I love to write) causes me to be curious.
So, I look at this typewriter and take it all in, every inch of it. I wonder who has pounded on its keys and I wonder what they wrote. I think about how many times these keys have been touched and how many words were created. And how kind of words evolved it. Were they words of love or hate? Were they poems or stories? Were they theses and homework? Or was it simply used occasionally by someone with horrible handwriting (I raise my hand to have that problem) and wrote a letter home to the family to let them know life was going well, they still had a job, someone was in love with them, and they would visit soon? Maybe all of the above. Or maybe it was bought, used a few times and passed on to someone else that never found it any use and put it away in the closet for many years until it was time to get rid of it.
There are thousands upon thousands of ways this typewriter may have been used. Hell, it could have been a doorstop.
That’s when you have to put it out on a table, get some good light, maybe from a flashlight, put on your reading glasses and study this time traveling writing implement. And that’s what I did. I like to clean them and let them know they are in a good place. They will find use again if they didn’t have it before coming to my door.
I wonder how this rub mark got here. Who caused it? It’s not something that happened at one time. It took time to rub the paint off. Is it where someone placed their thumb and wrote and wrote and wrote? Was the writing for business getting this spot rubbed into it during the week and then sat quietly through weekends and holidays or for pleasure where it sat on some desk, maybe near a window where the owner could look out onto a park or woods or a city skyline or a suburban backyard? I have studied this mark for a while and the possible reason why it’s there is too numerous to name. I thought about trying to paint over it, get it to blend with the rest of the black but I thought better of it. It would be a shame to cover it up. Maybe I can even rub a little of the paint off myself from writing and creating on paper. Maybe I can add the miles it has traveled. Once I thought about it, that rub mark means love.
Someone might ask if I could know the history if I could get some sort of detailed past written up on this typewriter, would I want to see it. I have asked myself this and took some time to ponder my answer.
My answer is… no. Not unless somebody really famous wrote on it or some historical work was created on its platen, then no. Maybe I’d like to know the first person who bought it. The original cost would have been around $60. In today’s world, it would be almost $1100!!! I’m not kidding. It’s the price of a really good computer. So, the person or company that bought it must have had a good job and intended on using it. That gives me a very small idea of how its life started. But pass that, I don’t think I’d want to know. My imagination wouldn’t be able to wonder about the rich history it might have had.
And to be honest, that’s much more fun. Isn’t it?
I have a four-tiered shelf and this Royal sits at the top. All have their own lights to show them off. All of these probably never had it so good. Three of the four work well and even though they have given a place of honor, the three will be used and still live a life they were designed to have. Not just show pieces but still working toward giving the world words to read (with my help, of course). And this Royal because of its small size and the carrying case that has been with it from the beginning, will not only click and clack inside these walls but will be able to make sounds and create outside these walls. This is something I am looking forward to. Maybe I will join a group of typewriter collectors and aficionados and meet up and have a type-in or I might just go solo and head to a park or downtown and find a place and type what I see with my eyes are what’s inside my head. Maybe I can make a friend or cause some curiosity from passersby.
And I’ll give this 1936 Royal some more history, some history I can now be a part of.
-Loyd Elmore Jr.
April 19th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.