This typewriter, a Royal, used to belong to my mom who was born in Venice, California in 1935. She used it when she was a student at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California. She wanted to be a secretary but somehow that never happened. Instead, after she graduated from high school, she took a job at Max Factor factory in Los Angeles labeling lipstick tubes.
While I was growing up she would sometimes take her typewriter out and practice her typing speed. Taptaptapratatatattaptattap. So fast. I thought my mom was awesome because she could make words appear on a sheet of paper so fast, like lightening.
When I was in middle school and high school, I used this typewriter to write my school papers on and I used it to fill out my college applications. Eventually, my mom let me borrow it and I took it with me to the university.
I only used it for one school quarter to write my college essays. The next school quarter the student computer center opened and I returned the typewriter back to my mom. She put it away, way back in her closet, behind the red lace party dress of 1955 she still kept, my grandmother’s fur trimmed wool coat and the orange tweed coat she wore on her drive in the early morning to mass at church.
And there this old Royal typewriter stayed, until a year ago, when she called me and said she was throwing out some old stuff and would I like the typewriter. I asked her why she wanted to toss it and she said it reminded her of all the things she had wanted to do and never could do. She wanted it gone so she could go on.
I rescued my mom’s typewriter from the junk pile, brought it back home with me and now I think this old Royal will be a reminder to me, not the albatross it was for my mom, but a reminder to rescue myself, to write and to write and to write some more.
Rat a tat tat tap tap tap.