Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pretty In Pink

Please meet Betty, a 1950's Royal Quiet deLuxe. She weighs 11 lbs.

I first saw her tucked away on a shelf at A Repeat Performance, a quaint little store in the East Village on Second Avenue and 9th Street. I had often stared into the window since my freshman year at NYU. There was always a typewriter there I coveted, a Hermes 3000 or a 1950's Smith-Corona Silent Super perhaps.

But there was something special about Betty. Perhaps it was the way her smooth, cold, pink metallic body felt on my fingers, stamped with the word, "ROYAL." Perhaps it was the fact that she hailed from the 50's, a time in history that I feel very connected to (the fashion! the music!) I was thrilled when I found out Heather sourced for 8 of my closest friends to bring Betty home.

My love affair started when I was 8 years old. I learnt how to type by recreating recipes on my mother's typewriter. I can't recall the model nor the make. However, I retain a vivid recollection of keys striking paper and the decisive clacking sound punctuating the air. I stained my fingers on the dual black and red ribbon trying to change the spool.

Twenty years earlier in a cramped Camden apartment, my mother diligently typed addresses on envelopes on weekends, my brother on her hip. Her fingers pressed on keys that would result in neat rows of addresses. The office would deliver boxes of white standard envelopes to the apartment. They paid by the pound. It wasn't a difficult task. It was tedious to a fault, however, and with a baby and a husband who was in graduate school full-time, it was a means of support that was welcomed.

The ability to type for pleasure is not lost on me. I am extremely grateful for the gift of prose and the love for the written word.