I bought a new tool. It was quite a frivolous purchase really, but I had been looking for one for about six months, ever since I asked my husband if I could “borrow” his typewriter to place in my garden for the garden show.
Without hesitation, he answered “No.”
I explained that “of course, I would only carry it outside if it’s a beautiful sunny day and I would dust it and place it back in its case promptly.”
He didn’t even pause before his second “No.”
I thought he was kidding at first when he declined my request, until he added: “my grandfather Russell used that typewriter at the Red No. 73 Creamery in Union City, my dad wrote his mechanical engineering college papers at Purdue on it, and my mom used it to write poetry for her college class.”
I should also add that the husband, (also known as Dr. Steve) used it at IU and Logan School of Chiropractic, where it has been alleged that he published an underground newspaper.
He has rarely ever — OK, never actually — declined a sincere request in our nearly 27 years of marriage — so I honored his wishes, which set me out on a quest to find my own garden typewriter.
It was destiny that I sent my youngest daughter Phoebe, who’s namesake was a “letter-carrier” for Paul in Biblical times — to bring it home on the exact day that I was hosting the Johnson County Garden Club meeting in our garden.
She’s a beaut! — the typewriter and the third-born. Anyway, my new 1946 Smith Corona Super-Speed clickety-clacks when she’s stamping down the black letters on my white paper and dings when nearing the end of the right margin.
I didn’t have to hand her to my daughter to help me figure out how to use her, like I do with my smart phone. It was like riding a bike or meeting an old friend for lunch — it just felt comfortable. I set the automatic margins with one hand, while checking the line space mechanism, hit the tab and listened to her ding.
I felt accomplished like a seasoned mechanic, showing off the purring engine of his restored 1955 Chevy with the hood opened up at the Greenwood Suds. I acknowledge I was feeling confident in my skills when I flipped up the cover plate, straightened the black and red ribbon coming from the left ribbon spool and re-looped it through the ribbon vibrator loop.
I checked the ribbon color indicator lever, flipped the cover down and fed the paper through the platen roller with the right platen knob.
And then, like a car enthusiast driving his restored Chevy into the sunset, I typed and typed …