My Grandparents’ Typewriter

Walking with Cake: Underwood Typewriter

(My grandparents’ old typewriter.)

When my parents came to visit last week, they brought with them my grandparents’ typewriter. It’s the kind of thing that a lot of people probably have sitting around their houses, tucked in a closet or attic somewhere, a relic of a time long past.

My grandfather bought it used years ago, when he was the secretary of his local labor union and needed something to type up meeting minutes, and my mom used it to practice her typing skills when she was in school. When I was little, I’d beg my grandmother to let me play with it, and she’d willingly set up a small card table and then lug the typewriter out of the closet where she kept it. It’s a heavy piece of equipment, and I’d make sure to play with it for hours, since it didn’t come out very often. I couldn’t type then, but I would do my best to spell words and sentences, pretending to be a secretary in an office or a writer working on a novel.

When my mom asked if I’d like to keep the typewriter, I immediately agreed. I have no idea what I’ll do with it, though I’d like to display it when the boys are a bit older and won’t be tempted to bang on it or accidentally pull it down. It’s a curiosity from a different generation and a link to the past, and I like having it around.

I read this poem in Monday’s Writer’s Almanac, and it goes perfectly with my feelings about my grandparents’ typewriter.

Do you have anything from a different generation that you are keeping?

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