Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flash Back-typewriters, the Olivetti 32. My Mom and the Olivetti.

This is the post I was working on over time, when I found the time, that I mentioned in an earlier post. Did you know you can do this by saving a post as a draft and then changing the posting date when you do decide to publish by going into "post options"? You can. Try it for yourself when you have a story storming in your brain and not enough time and the family needs to be fed or someone requires clean undies!!

Now on to the story...

N's typing paper

N. has been enjoying the low tech-ness of our new (old) typewriter I found at a garage sale!! Actually ALL the kids have found the rewards of striking keys and using no electricity!!

I got the Olivetti 32 "for a song" and it works perfect, has all the original booklets, warranty (darn it expired in 1971!), cleaning brushes and a still-juicy ink ribbon!!! It is in the original vinyl zippered case.

How cool is that?

N. exploring the skills of the Olivetti

I have to give you some back story on why I was so excited to come upon this item with a price tag on it that may as well have had my name on it saying

"Reserved for purchase only by Amy".

When I was growing up, my Mom was a typer. She was a typer and secretary from her late teen years and continued to be until her too soon death - in 1995.

She had pen pals all around the world since she was a young woman. She had hundreds of pen pals. Some were parts of groups that were women all sharing the exact interests. She acquired some through established writing friends and others from the ads in the back of women's' magazines- listings of women looking to have pen friends and what their interests are. She typed and hand scripted letters every day. Every day without fail. If she didn't finish a letter each day she was working on what to write and how to piece the words and sentences together.

She wrote to one great friend in Scotland, named Frances Dickson, for 52 years!!!! Mom was lucky enough to meet a couple of her pen pals in person.

She didn't live long enough to use the world of the Internet and email and blogs. What a real shame. Wouldn't she have had fun??!!

My sister-in-law promised Mom that she would notify all her pen pals after her death. She wrote a lovely letter and sent prayer/memorial cards. Many of the pen pals then wrote to me, as they had been kept abreast of all my life events and sent many reproduced photos of me through the mail over the years. (See! I told you she would have had fun with email and sending digital photos, too!)

One of my most treasured things of my Mom's is her tattered well used and loved address book all written in her beautiful cursive handwriting. It has cross outs and pages tucked in and snippets torn from envelopes too. It had a rubber band holding it all together. The rubber band has long since dry rotted but the history within that book can never decay!!

N.~ age 7 ~and his newly found talent

In my Mom's early years she was influenced by a friend of her Mother's who later became a short story columnist for a newspaper. My Mom, herself, once wrote for a small local newspaper.

She loved to type the most at night time. She was somewhat of a night owl. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the striking typewriter keys. Some people need music. That was music to me. My Mom creating a world of stories with her words all strung together.

Back to the reason that I was so thrilled by finding this type writer. This is a model identical to the one my Mom typed on for most of my childhood. She typed with 2 sheets of paper and a carbon paper in between so she could save a copy for her own. In later years, she changed to using an electric type writer; and carbon paper was replaced by the use of a copy machine at the local office supply store. I have to say I prefer the sound of the manual type writer. It was more familiar. As familiar as her voice in my ear.

Mom's Olivetti type writer was stored away after the electric one took over and over time it was taken over by mold in the damp garage as it was not stored properly. It was given up to the trash.

I have most of all those carbon and xerox copies of her letters and stories. I have them carefully stored away. I dream that some day I could have them published for others to enjoy.

Today I am enjoying the tap tap tap of my children exploring the low-tech-ness of the Olivetti. They even fight over which of them has had more typing time!!

My wise children have come to the bright realization that this machine can not run up the electric bill, get a virus and crash. Technology does come with some possible drawbacks.

My Mom around 1930


a portland granny said...

I loved this post! The typewriter stories and hearing about your Mom's love of writing to others. She would,indeed, have loved this computer age!!

Just the other night I was thinking about my Dad, who has been gone almost 30 years. I was thinking if he could come back for one hour, how many changes there would be for him to absorb!! So much happens in development even in 30 years time.

I'm glad you are steeping your children in their rich heritage. Finding that typewrite was a blessing for you, wasn't it? To think your Mom used the identical kind gives me goose bumps.

We need to build on our heritage and keep the wonderful memories alive. You are doing it for all of us with the wonderful things you collect and post on your blog.

Thanks for stopping by my post on our fourth of July tradition.

We are at the start of a new week. Have a great one!

Mrs.Kwitty said...

What a wonderful post! I loved hearing about your Mom --she was really dedicated to her pen pals, I find that very admirable. I love that you used to sleep to that sound and how it brings back such memories for you.

I have a manual typewriter that my Aunty Dolly gave me for my 12th birthday--my children always loved to use it.

Smiles, Karen

She'sSewPretty said...

Oh Amy! I loved this post. I can remember having an old typewriter and I typed all kinds of poems on it. I was always going to be a "famous writer". I too love that tap tap tap sound. That brings back so many memories.

carla said...


Thanks so much for the post on the Olivetti typewriter. My mother had one exactly like it. She wrote poetry and I still have the copies she typed out on the blue manual typewriter. She, also, ended up buying an electric, we inherited the Olivetti, and sadly enough, it had a similar ending to yours. I wished I had taken better care of it and still had it. My mother didn't have pen pals but she was a great letter writer. Every Monday morning she sat down to pen one to me. She wrote to me until her eyesight degenerated and I still have most of the letters. They contain part of our family history (the one that I've never written down).

Her penmanship was beautiful. Although growing up poor,she was part of a more gracious time.

Anyway, this all brought a smile to my face.

I love typewriters.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Funny how such a simple thing creates such a strong link to the past, though.
I learned on an old manual typewriter--it was required even though the electric ones were available. Our teacher made us use the old ones.