Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smith Corona Typewriter and a Lifeline

I was in 6th grade, and just like every other year, my mother started quizzing me early December on what I wanted for Christmas. I was a serious girl, prone to days on end silences and reading sometimes three books a day. I was bookish and self-conscious in painful degrees, and I felt no one understood me. In retrospect, I know there were millions of girls just like me all over the world. At the time, I didn't know it.

So, like any other serious girl who intetionally separates themselves from everyone else, I considered myself a writer. One day I was going to live in New York City and everyone in my hometown was going to chew on my shit. And despair that they were losers stuck in the RGV. But in the meantime, I wanted a Smith Corona typewriter. To get me through the remaining years in my cultural vacuum.

When Christmas break was over, there were the obligatory questions. What’d you get for Christmas? And my proud answer. What do you want that for? You asked for it? Like you wanted a typewriter? Was the typical barrage of questions.

But it didn’t matter. I’d race home, roll in a new crisp white sheet in that machine and like pianist, dramatically pause before I plunged in a flurry of key tapping. Dozens and dozens of poems, short stories, observations, unsent letters to God, lists and lists on everything under the sun, and whatever else came into my head.

By the time I was in 7th grade, I had fellow students asking me to help them write love letters, or draft poems for them to send to their boyfriends or crushes. Silly stuff for silly school girls who knew nothing about love or life.

The sweet days of the early 1990s….and the end of the era for the electric blue Smith Corona.

 I never moved to NYC or became a famed writer. But that typewriter was like a lifeline for me. I'm sure I'm not the only woman who gets a pleasant nostalgic flurry in my stomach when I see one of these machines... it's like remembering  the first innocent flush of love.