Something our family has been obsessing a bit over for the last year is typewriters. Grace and Cate each have one and often write reports on theirs. We recently discovered that Tom Hanks collects typewriters, and that made everyone's day. When we saw Newsies, there are several scenes where the girl reporter is typing away, and Grace jet squealed with delight at that part.
Anyway, Gideon has been asking for a typewriter of his own for about a year, precisely ever since Grace got hers. I don't understand this too much, really. I mean, I don't see why one typewriter for the family isn't plenty. Do we not have a drawer full of pens and pencils? Not to mention a highly efficient computer keyboard, that edits and backspaces and copies and pastes? But the siren call of the click click clickety click of those typewriter keys is actually quite difficult to resist, I have discovered. Indeed, it is actually quite close to impossible to walk past a typewriter with a fresh ribbon and a sheet of paper all ready to go without quickly typing a few lines. The fact that you can't easily backspace when you mess up, or that occasionally a letter comes out half red, or that you have to use two maneuvers to get an exclamation mark only makes it all the more charming. And that smell of white out! Brings me back to when I was a kid and was determined to become an author.
The day before Gideon's birthday, Grace and Cate begged me to go to the antique store and find Gideon a typewriter. I was quite skeptical, thinking we wouldn't be able to find one that worked for a halfway decent price, and still not convinced that our family actually needed three typewriters, but Grace and Cate insisted we try. Somehow they talked me in to agreeing Gideon needed a typewriter of his own, and that it would make a wonderful birthday present.
Believe it or not, there were a close to a dozen typewriters in the two antique shops we visited that afternoon. Some working, some not, ranging in price from $50 up to $400. Thankfully, the $50 one was in the best working condition and wouldn't need any touching up at all to work properly. And the girls were right, he was absolutely thrilled with the birthday gift.
However, that afternoon we discovered an advantage to owning multiple typewriters that I couldn't have realized before- a game we made up called Typewriter Wars. Really. I know, I know, a game only a family of homeschoolers could invent, right? There are really no rules to it, just sit three in a row and type as fast as you can for five minutes, making up a story on the fly, then voting on the winner at the end. In a very strange way it's quite entertaining. It's fun to click click click on those three typewriters at the same time, and think about the time last century when a typewriter was a new, improved, faster, better way to communicate ideas than what had been done before.
If you've wanted to hunt down an old typewriter, like I had thought of doing for years, I urge you to go for it. Leave it out somewhere with paper in it and try to walk past without pushing a few of the keys. I don't think you'll be able to do it.