I have discovered a wonderful tool for getting my children to write: an old typewriter! Listening to the clackety-clack of the keys takes me back — it’s like writing through time!
My grandfather liked to write, and so did his older sister. I’m not sure how the story goes, whether he bought the typewriter for himself and eventually gave it to her, or if he bought it for her, but one year he gave her a red Underwood Golden Touch typewriter. (I would guess this machine is from the late 50’s or early 60’s. An eBay search shows a red one in a 1958 magazine ad.) About 10 yrs ago it was given back to my grandfather, and a few years ago it was given to me.
This past week I’ve let my kids do some typing — it’s always special when they type because I don’t let them “play” with the typewriter often. Today I sat down and showed them what all the different levers and buttons do, and explained the changes that have come over the years to keyboards (computer vs typewriter). I used to have some White-out tabs, but can’t find them right now, so I’ve had to explain (without showing) how to ‘fix’ mistakes.
They’re having a blast, writing stories about themselves! And I’m enjoying the clackety-clack of the keys and the smell of the ink ribbon. I’ve even taken time to do some manual typing myself. I’ve forgotten how hard it is to just type and not worry about mistakes. To make a perfect paper, I must be conscious of every letter I push, otherwise I will have to core correct my mistakes somehow.
Now I’m anxious to visit some antique stores again… I want to look at the old typewriters! How about you? Do you have any family heirlooms to teach your children about your family history?