The story it could tell
“Once upon a time then [sic] was Braxton then he save [sic] his mom from the tower and they were happy ever after the end.”
The typewriter in my office was manufactured in 1927. It belonged to my mother’s mother and was purchased in the middle of the Great Depression when she was a teacher of teachers at a Normal School in Milwaukee.
Oh, if that Underwood could talk, the story it would tell! It sat for years in her home on Ellen Street. Not only was it used for coursework, but it was also used to write letters long since gone…letters to friends, letters to family, letters that told stories. Stories of her young and growing family – their births, their graduations, their marriages. Stories of pain at the death of a child days after her birth.
Through the generations
Her family grew. Her seven children began to have children of their own. As they moved away, her letters would keep them connected to home.
There would have been a story of sons-in-law who went off to fight in World War II and grandkids went to Korea and Vietnam. She would have written:
- of events back home to keep them all connected
- of homecomings and celebrations
- with pride.
One of her daughters would become a preacher’s wife…and author. Was her writing inspired by typing on the old Underwood? The question remains unanswered…asked too late. The stories continued.
As the years took their toll, my mother’s mother could no longer type. The old keys took too much effort from the old woman she had become. The Underwood was given to one of the sisters. Over time, it found its way to the garage where it sat silent – silent for years.
The story of a new home
The typewriter found its way to my home, a gift from my cousin to celebrate my writings and the publication of my first book. For Christmas, my wife had it refurbished. Good as new! Its clacking keys and ringing bell have become a thing of fascination for my grandsons when they “visit” my office next to their playroom. With my gentle coaxings of “be gentle” and “one key at a time,” they learned to type their names…and then…
Braxton who is my firstborn’s firstborn, my mother’s first grandchild’s child, came to play. He, now seven, has been diagnosed with autism at two, non-verbal until almost five. Braxton, the sweetest little boy you will ever want to meet.
As he is wont to do, he headed upstairs to the playroom, barely giving his daddy a goodbye. I followed, but instead of the playroom, he turned into my office and began to type. “Braxton”. He then looked up at me, his expression one of someone following an idea in their head…then he smiled…and typed, pausing occasionally for help with the next letter.
“Once upon a time then [sic] was Braxton then he save [sic] his mom from the tower and they were happy ever after the end”
The stories continue…