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Lover, Come Back to Me: Typewriter Week, Entry #2

by Twitchy on February 12, 2013

This week has become Typewriter Week at TwitchyCorner. Every day I’ll post a story or factual/visual piece to do with these wondrous machines. Did you know there are scores of typewriter-dedicated blogs worldwide? Would you believe I just discovered it is in fact International Typewriter Appreciation Month? How about that!

Yesterday I wrote of the joy and cheer that finally landing a typewriter brings, but Miss Red Dora is not my first. She is indeed my first cheeky red one. But this new acquisition heals a childhood wound…

When I was small and on the rare occasion my father had to take me to his workshop on a Saturday morning, the only way to keep me out of trouble was to let me loose on the office typewriter. Val used to come in to type the workshop correspondence, and invoices on magical bi-coloured (carbon) forms that worked in duplicate. She typed once, she had two copies! I was in awe of her machine, her skill, her beehivey do and her pearlescent nails and coffee mugs. I don’t remember her face (I was so young, though Val was real she may well be a patchwork of people through the workshop office. However…) such was the impression her prowess and accoutrements made on me. Val did not need to look at her fingers as she typed. What was she- some kind of sorceress?

I’d sit at the desk and play. I lived in Enid Blyton land at the time. I banged out endless little variations of stories about mischievous bands of children who’s names are all found on the English Royal family tree. It took me so long to make any progress with my small hands and  juvenile hunt-and-peck method, it was the best value babysitter any busy adult could have found. (Well, perhaps dependent on what was showing on the telly- if Superfriends was on I’d be outta there).

My interest in playing on typewriters never waned, so one day years later, my father returned from a business trip with something large in a big, textured plastic, off-white, carry case. Inside was a lightweight, portable typewriter of my very own! A bland and neutral workhorse with greyish/ bluish-green? keys, ready for duty.

I loved that thing, used it often and carried it upstairs and down.

One day when I was about twelve, I made my way down the stairs, carry handle gripped in one fist. Somehow the pair of cover securing, thumb-press buttons popped back in. The typewriter came away from her handled cover and dropped, hard. Helpless, I watched her tumble awkwardly down the stairs, careening off the landing wall and turning the corner. Bang! Clang! Bang! Clunk. I felt sick.

She was warped beyond repair and I was heart broken. For whatever reason my mechanical companion was never replaced. But she and I still had stories to tell.

I wouldn’t have daily contact with another typewriter for about six more years, when I started my first job. I don’t remember how long I mourned. I don’t even remember what model or make she was.

Linking with Essentially Jess

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee-Anne May 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Your post has made me HANKER after a cute but very traditional type-writer, (after I haven’t given them a thought for more years than I care to disclose). I WANT one in my favourite colour – pink or green… (I haven’t got this excited about a material possession in YONKS!)

*begins hunting the worldwide web with grim determination*


Twitchy May 9, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Be prepared for a hunt (and VERY sore forearms). You need to decide on brand, colour, vintage, features and of course price. There is,a super-low end of the market too. Green is easier to find than pink.

Here’s my favourite pink model, the royal

Becc February 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

I think I had the oldest typewriter of all…it had the keys that got stuck, the whole shebang. It was so cool!
Becc @ Take Charge Now


Kim @ FallingFaceFirst February 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Ohhhh I think this is about the saddest story I’ve ever heard! What I would have given to tell my Enid Blyton stories by typewriter. I handwrote them all, always ending with something like ‘and then Dick, Louise, John and Jane all went home for scones and cordial’, then laboriously illustrated my manila cover. Scintillating they were.
LOVE the sound of a typewriter! The depth of the keys! My impatience threshold is not quite high enough to handle the real deal though. I’ll just enjoy your gorgeous Miss Red Dora vicariously.


Me February 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

This brought back memories of when I learned to type in high school. We had really really old typewriters. The black and red ribbon and no white out !!! The keys were covered and we had to type in time to music – only looking at the keyboard poster that hung on the front wall of the classroom. I used to complain about having to do typing but it has stood me in good stead when using a computer and being able to touch type.
Have a great week !
#IBOT visitor


Rachel February 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm

You forgot to mention that great type-writer smell! The combination of the ink, the metal and some sort of oil that you used to keep the keys greased was magic. Like you I also spent many happy hours clattering out stories, as well as the occasional script for movies I wanted to star in when I grew up!


Eve Adams February 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Love it! I used to have a big clunky typewriter, I wrote my first novel on it. Ah, the memories 🙂


Danya Banya February 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Oh this is so sad. I can feel how upset you were. I never had my own type writer, and I don’t think we had a family one, but I can remember typing on one at some time or another. But we did have a computer back in the days when not everyone had one. I learnt to touch type using a program that took several tape cassettes to load. A few years down the track, I typed up all the words to the songs of a Violent Femmes cassette that I owned. It took me ages. I used to type while I listened to the songs while I typed.


Josefa @always Josefa February 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Miss Twitchy! These posts are making me very clucky to go and buy my very own gorgeous vintage typewriter! What have you started??
Love the story of your childhood and typing away at your Dad’s office xx


Twitchy February 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Josefa, it is addictive. I was stalking ebay since before Christmas to learn some insights and see what spoke to me. I REALLY wanted a bright colour, which narrowed it down a lot. Now I think I need an electric one too, because they are glorious (shhh, don’t tell my husband).

Denyse Whelan Education Specialist February 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Oh My Goodness..people do love the typewriter. I too found it wonderful to play/pretend on one when I was little and went to dad’s office sometimes on the weekend.
I learned typing (supposedly touch!) under those dreadful covers you had to type under, without seeing the keys. This was when I was around 16 and went to evening college – I was still at school. Dad, again, thought it was a good skill to learn even though I wasn’t follow officework as a career path. Later, when I was at teachers’ college I went to speed type classes..not ON speed…but apparently getting fast (like Carmen ..wooot)
Alas I blame my poor concentration (mild ADHD anyone??) and a boring way to learn so I didnt get up to speed …..

Fast forward it has indeed paid me to know a keyboard (bless you Qwerty) for the many many typewriters I’ve used as a teacher. Did you know they brought out a typewriter in mid 70s that did amazing Infants-type printing. I hearted that one at the 2 teacher school where B was the principal. Such a cool typewriter.

At Uni (way into 80s’ and early 90s) I admit I was grateful for Dad’s offer (and accepted) of the electric typewriter that weighed a tonne but did my assignments for me…with the little correcting tape thingy..

But dear Twitchy, I am nostalgic for some things but not so much the typewriter.. The inks on my fingers, ribbon changes, the keys getting stuck…

I welcomed our technology update of the Commodore 64!



Kate February 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I have been looking for one for about a month now! I used to have one when I was small and my dad worked overseas, we would write to one another. ahh the memories. R.I.P trusty friend!


Emily @ Have a laugh on me February 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I wish I had kept mine – I remember it fondly – especially the fact that once the words were down there was no erasing them 🙂


Kyla @ Three Quarters Full February 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Oh gosh when carbon copies actually were carbon copies… I adore typewriters although I would be more than useless using one – my typing skills and the inevitable spelling and grammar mistakes would lead to forests of wasted paper.


EssentiallyJess February 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Oh this story is heartbreaking! How horrible to be without her!
I remember when we got our first typewriter, I was so excited. Sat there for ages to write half a page, but it was so worth it!


Lisa@RandomActsOfZen February 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I longed for a typewriter when I was little, but sadly never got one. This story almost made me cry, I could feel your panic when your beloved crashed down the stairs 🙁


Tegan February 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I had a type writer when I was little and I loved it. I loved the sound the keys made and the hitting the lever to send the typing back to the start. My mum used to clean the office that my dad worked at and she would sometimes take me along. I loved sitting up at dad’s desk, pretending that I was a big important office lady.


Twitchy February 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

And the *ding*! LOVE that little bell when you reach the end of your line 🙂

carmen February 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Ahh yes. I loved my typewriter! My best efforts were 151 wpm with 99.5% accuracy. How I wanted to do 200+ wpm with perfect accuracy like Gladys in our office. *sigh*


Twitchy February 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

That doesn’t even sound possible!

Roxanne P-CH February 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I love the old style typewriters. Used to love banging away at the keys. That was until a clumsily slammed finger would go down between the keys and get stuck. Ouch!


Twitchy February 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Kids of today will never know the joys of untangling jammed typebars, or straightening snagged ribbon to get fingertips full of ink!

Seana Smith February 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

AAaarggghh! I loved typewriters when I was little. And in fact when I stepped off the plane in Sydney for the very first time 25 years ago I had my mum’s old manual portable typewriter as hand luggage. She’d got it for her 21st birthday.

And I don’t know where it is.

My first jobs in TV were still in the days of typewriters but probably electric ones. I feel so old. Off to check out your other posts.


Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions February 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

Love this Twitchy! I remember egging my Mum so many times to let me play with her typewriter so I could write up my stories. She didn’t let me play with it often but when she did, man did I go to town on that thing! #teamIBOT was here!


Tina Gray February 12, 2013 at 9:08 am

Love this! I remember asking my dad for a typewriter when the fancy schmancy electric ones came out, and he brought home this big clunker of a thing from the markets. I was devastated but looking back now, I wish I still had it!


Rhianna February 12, 2013 at 8:20 am

I remember getting my first typewriter. It was a bit exciting to say the least. My heart dropped for you in the lead up to the drop. I could just tell it was about to happen. Who knew there was a whole month of typewriter appreciation though, that is a bit cool


Zanni, Heart Mama February 12, 2013 at 8:01 am

I wrote my first stories on a typewriter aged 6. There’s something unbeatable about not having a delete button or spell check. I often think how stories of the past written in quill or even the type writer must have been so different because of how much slower the process is. X


Lydia C. Lee February 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

Love it! I love that (almost) nostalgia. I also love it when hugely successful authors still write their novels longhand.
I think Jackie Collins was asked why she didn’t use a computer and she replied ‘because I’m rich enough not too’ heehee!


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