DEAR OLD GAL
The timing couldn’t be better for my new obsession. Yes, I have another one. In the early part of my years, when I was in my teens, no joke, it was vintage canister sets. Chrome, red, yellow, turquoise and pink — flour, sugar, coffee, tea, (two of the four basic food groups back in the fifties, the good old days). I had them everywhere and I am surprised that my former husband even wanted to marry me with the amount of sets that was part of the package called my life. After this, because let’s face it, how many canister sets does one person need let alone be able to house, it was tacky salt and pepper shakers. You know the ones, like strippers from Las Vegas where the salt and pepper were each of their boobs and they sat in the upper half of her body, hips emblazoned with the words Viva Las Vegas. Really, I had these. Perhaps these in particular were a little foreshadowing of my own upper half as the left one actually broke in transit. Weird.
Those got out of hand with the final ones being Ayatollah Khomeini, former Supreme Leader, (it is hard not to laugh writing that one) of Iran after my Iranian friend and colleague brought them back from Tehran after visiting his father. I wish I still had these; they were one of my favorites, but like many collections, the dump likely has them now or some other collector scored them after many yard sales later. I have collected old cookbooks from the depression era because it is a window into the lives of housewives pre processed food, pre frozen dinners, pre disposable income. These are the real moment in time history books in my humble opinion. We are so often intrigued by what is happening in the worlds outside our homes, when there are lots of more interesting stories inside them.
I have a love for turquoise and pink vintage kitchen anything and when I streamlined my canister collection, I decided to just go turquoise. Telephone, mixer, Pyrex bowls, spice racks, serving pieces. Because I have a neat little pantry off of my kitchen that looks like a mini store, they all take up beautiful residence on the white shelves in the sunny light filled no larger than four by four square foot space. Any woman who comes into my kitchen pauses when she gets to the glass door and peers in taking a trip down her own memory lane. This gives me great joy and makes me happy I have hung on to the collection especially after my recent and apparently short lived minimize phase.
After all of this collecting and cleaning out the basement, one would think I would be swearing off collecting anything with any size component as its personality. I thought so too until I walked in to one of my favorite stores in Bristol, RI, Second Helpings, and found my new love. A Royal Typewriter, circa 1947ish weighing in at least thirty five pounds, a virtual beast or rather beauty of a machine that needed an extra set of hands to help me up the stairs. Portable nothing and I quickly created a space for it in my kitchen in the office the previous owners had designed. This area, as convenient as its intent was had really become more of a junk collecting space over the past five years and I had been thinking about taking the whole built in desk ensemble out of there. That is until this Royal typewriter I now call, Dear Old Gal, and I made our acquaintance. Dear Old Gal is part of my soul now and I will refer to her as my first love because like anything I get into my addictive traited soul, one is simply not enough. I must have more so I can come outside like I do almost daily with my laptop and instead pound away at real keys that have no delete button, no distracting apps that take me away from pure beautiful composing.
I didn’t realize how distracted I get when I am writing until I started my relationship with Dear Old Gal. When I type on my laptop, I check the spelling of a word on the convenience of the online dictionary, or a synonym on the thesaurus so readily available at the click of a button. Often this leads me to the brief shift to check my email for the fifth time or a review of a Yelp review that popped up in the right hand corner of my screen. Next thing you know I am off and running replying and reading reviews and forwarding and deleting emails taking me away from the slow creative ritual that has become my morning wake up. Typing on Dear Old Gal slows everything down for me.
First off, actual typing and thinking tempers my high speed moving brain down to a snail’s pace. Words have to be considered, letters because of the absence of that way too easy delete button have to be thought about before tapping my short nailed fingers on the small circular glass keys. The realization of what a bad typer I am is blatant as my head bobs up and down from looking at the keys to the winding paper and back again. Frankly it matters not because the evidence of errors is all too obvious since I don’t have any whiteout, white strips or any of the inventions created to correct this very problem. I just chug along, making mistakes, feeling clever when I figure out how to just cross out the mess with a nice happy strike-through (to the right of the zero just like on your keyboard, no shift required).
As on may imagine where this story is headed, a second typewriter would be next on the list, a Hermes 3000, bought on Ebay for a ridiculous sum becasue I lost my mind. “The best portable ever made,” to quote my new best friend, Ray who owns a typewriter repair shop in Pawtucket, RI. called Marr Office Equipment. His tagline is actually office equipment and repair, but when I did my handy and all to available search on Google, “typewriter repair shop, RI,” Marr came right up with pictures and everything. Of course in true lunatic aka alayne fashion, off I went the very next day to bring Old Gal, who I have now named Old Bess, for a visit and a mini ribbon threading lesson. When I got back home as luck would have it, my newest addition had arrived in the case and it even came with its original manual to which I immediately dove in.
Two typewriters in two weeks, and with my fresh new Ebay account happy to have me, more on the way because I am basically addicted to the ease, the happy way it helps me write and most of all, zero distractions. Though I have become perfectly addicted to writing on Dear Old Bess, and have been typing at least two pages a day, no small feat for this amateur, I needed a portable and lightweight. Hence the Hermes which despite the exorbitant amount I paid for it, it is basically like new and I have no regrets. It will easily make its way to my front porch sooner than later.
My overall plan for all of this wackiness is to sit outside with my new portable and offer free short stories to anyone walking by who cares to throw me a word or two, connecting, gathering, talking and looking up and at. I like shaking up the new normal with my own version of it. I also like the challenge of having to create on the spot for a stranger. Apparently unbeknownst to me, there is a bit of a typewriter movement going on. Like the words journey and gift when it comes to cancer, I am starting to feel the same way about the word movement so I prefer Renaissance. If I start my own typewriter Renaissance then I have done my part with the, unbeknownst to me at the time, nudging I needed from an Old Gal waiting for me at the consignment store to walk in be reminded of my Grandmother and take her home.