Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dr. Frankenstein of Typewriters

My stepfather was a typewriter repairman when I was growing up. He still is, in fact. The inside of his shop, Montclair Business Machines (in Ontario, Califorinia), looks remarkably like the one in the video of Typewriter Man below.

Harold gave me my first clickity-clackity beast when I was in seventh grade. It was a huge Underwood that he'd repaired from a heap of junk machines he'd purchased in bulk. He had a knack for the exacting work of setting springs, replacing screws, and oiling the parts that made the keys strike cleanly, the platen turn smoothly, and the carriage return with a single swipe. He could take an old iron chassis, clean it of rust, oxidation and inky grime, then shine it like a showroom model. Some machines needed more than just a cleaning, though. From the stacks of old machines in our garage, he would cannibalize the terminal machines for the good parts, and place them into shined up or repainted frames. He was the Dr. Frankenstein of typewriters. Every Christmas he made extra money for gifts from refurbishing and selling from his stockpile of broken typewriters.

I can't say I wrote my first novel on that seventh-grade typewriter, but I did hack out crazy stories about kids and animals, fashion models, rock bands and movie stars. And aliens. I sure did love the idea of escaping earth and starting a new life somewhere else in the universe. I wish I had some of those old stories to reminisce and laugh over, but back then, I never saw myself as a writer.

Typewriter Man from Daniel Lovering on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I love this!!!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story and video!