Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A story about a typewriter

So. Hi. HI. I've been busy, okay? Okay. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I have had a post in my head about things I can't resist at thrift stores, non-clothing edition. But the post kept getting stuck on typewriters.

Oh, I know everyone loves old typewriters. Me included. I shit you not, I have six typewriters sitting unused in various states of repair at this very minute. That doesn't count the working ones. Love them. Seems reasonable, I mean, I write. I have the alphabet in typewriter font tattooed on my wrist. And, I am a woman of a certain age in the bay area and therefore required to love the steampunky aesthetic of a vintage typewriter. 

But, well, there's a teeny bit more. A little story. In honor of father's day, late. Very late. It goes like this.

When I was quite young, maybe seven or eight, I began making breakfast for my dad every morning. I'm not certain why then, nor who made breakfast for him before me. But around that time, every day my dad would wake me up pretty freaking early by singing "good morning to you, good morning to you, we're all in our places with bright shiny faces, good morning to you, etc." And then I would stumble down the hall and try to wake up and stay woke up enough to make my dad toast, a soft-boiled egg, and coffee. 

It was harder than it sounds. I usually fell asleep while the egg boiled. But I tried. And my dad seemed to appreciate it.

I hated it. Hated every single minute of it. But I kept on doing it, for years. Why? I would like to say that I was a good daughter, that I knew how hard my dad's life was with all those damn kids (nine. 9!) and a wife in not-so-good-health, that I wanted to do my part, or whatever. Those would all be lies.

The truth is that my eldest sister Trisha told me that when she was young, she made breakfast for our dad every day. And one day, he brought home a pair of ice skates for her.

Ice skates. ICE SKATES PEOPLE!!! Can you even imagine how much I wanted those ice skates? A lot! I pictured my ice skates hung over my shoulder all white and shiny and sharp and fucking gorgeous. And, dudes, I lived (and live) in the bay area of California where, aside from the ice rink at Sunvalley Mall, there was no ice to skate on. My sister - well, she had been in Montana, I think, or another place where there was ice in the winter when she'd been making dad breakfast. So, umm, ice skates made sense.

Still. ICE SKATES. I wanted 'em baaaaaad. And every day when no ice skates appeared, I noticed.

I made my dad breakfast for years. Until, I think, he retired when I was 13 or 14. No ice skates. Ouch.

When I was about 16, I got home from high school one day and a there was a brand new Sears electric typewriter on the dining room table. FOR ME. 

The first thing out of my mouth was, "Is this instead of ice skates???? I love it!"

My dad had no idea what I was talking about. He said that he knew I was doing pretty good in typing (there were no computers then, babies) and thought I would like it. 

He was right. I did. Way more than ice skates. That typewriter saw me through high school and a good chunk of college. Right up until I got my Atari computer. But that's another story/obsession...

My dear dad passed away a little more than five years ago. He was a really good guy. I miss him every single day. So trite, so true, bah. 

Maybe I like typewriters because everyone likes typewriters. But maybe I like typewriters for a much better reason. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.




  1. Hmm, I wonder why I hang on to my old electric typewriter? now I know. AND I have no idea what that good morning song was - you were truly the spoiled one to get a song every morning!

    1. I was spoiled. It's true. I think I had a little bit different dad than y'all. I still hear him singing that song, all gruff but cheery.

  2. A present from a Dad is a very special thing.

  3. I'm having a psychic day. Woke up thinking of my best friend, and bam!, she called. Was watering my godmother's back yard and thought, "Wish Madeline would post something; I've been missing that . . ." and bam! you did. But enough about me (hahahaha). What a very dear post and very funny. And so you. You really need to post more often, 'cause I love these posts and IT'S all about me! (more hahahaha). Seriously, though, this post made me smile.

  4. What a sweet, touching story. More of these, please! (all your posts are great)

    1. Ahh, crap - I don't know if I have anymore! I'll keep reaching back. Hmmm.

  5. first of all, I'm sorry about your dad. I lost mine almost 2 years ago and miss him a lot. Second of all, you're from a family of 9 kids!!?! wowzas!

    1. It's the dirty little secret of adulthood: you think that grown-ups are ready for the shitty shit of losing your folks. But, you never are. Never. It just sucks.