Friday, October 20, 2017

The road to Herman's

It's time for the tenth annual typewriter collectors' meeting at Herman Price's amazing Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum, in his home in West Virginia. What began ten years ago as a little get-together for a few friends has ballooned into the legendary "Herman's." This year, about a hundred people are expected to attend. Herman's story about the last ten years of meetings will appear in the December ETCetera.

I always enjoy making the drive from Cincinnati (about 5 or 6 hours) through the colorful fall foliage of southern Ohio and central and northern West Virginia. Here are a few moments from today's trip.

The Parker House Hotel building in Hillsboro, Ohio, dates from 1807:

Only in rural America? ...

(Yes, that is the same Remington company that made the first Type Writer, although the typewriter business soon spun off from the arms business.)

Not everything out in the country has historic charm, but at least this strip mall has an amusing name...

The town of Bainbridge, Ohio, was having its annual fall festival. Hundreds of people were on the streets, and there were dozens of sales going on. Very few typewriters, though. In one ramshackle, moldy antique barn I spotted a Royal KMM for $45 and a Tom Thumb for $35. Both in rough condition. No, thanks.

Chillicothe, Ohio, has plenty of history and lots of antique shops. The following note was in a nice-looking tan Smith-Corona Silent-Super ($95). I like the note, but the price was too rich for me.

However, at another Chillicothe shop I struck paydirt: an Olympia SM3, needing a bit of work, for just $25. There was just enough room for it on top of the other typewriter cases in my trunk:

The rest of my car is also full of machines, mostly sold in advance to other attendees. I am shrinking my collection ... honest.

At Herman's, I found quite a crowd of people and cars assembled in the dimming light of evening. Shortly after my arrival, a Prius tried to park by the side of the road and didn't see the ditch. It was rescued by a combination of truck and muscles.

Most of us went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. It was fun to see old friends, put faces to names, and meet new people. Tomorrow will be an action-packed day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Post-Paradigm postcards ready to be posted in the post

I just had a large batch of Typewriter Manifesto postcards printed up. They need somewhere to go! I would be glad to type an address on one of them and mail it to you or your friend. There might even be an interesting stamp and a signature. Simply send me the name and address.

By the way, the revolution belongs to everyone, so you are free to share this photo, retype the Manifesto, rewrite it, and post it wherever you please with my blessing.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to bewitch a middle-school kid

A former student of mine writes:

I have been teaching middle school, and I love to be with the students. ... I have dozens and dozens of stories from the year so far. It seems that at every moment of teaching, my attitude is either "I can't believe I get paid to do this," or, "you cannot possibly pay someone enough to do this." The challenges and joys together make it great.

As part of my personal desk setup in my classroom, I included, of course, the Brother typewriter that I acquired from you a couple of years ago. I was under the impression that it would be useful to me, and that it is also a good item to have on any serious instructor's desk.

What I did not foresee was just how fascinated all of the students would be by it.

The 6th graders have taken to keeping a collective, daily class journal on my typewriter. The physical sensation of the apparatus is all but bewitching for them. And the notes they type reflect a connectedness to their day that I don't think would be catalogued in a Word document. The amount of instances per day in which I hear the words, "Mr. P_____, can I type on the typewriter?" is higher than I could have possibly anticipated. It is downright delightful. Several students have also expressed to me that they are finally typing well on the computer precisely because of their practice on the more-difficult typewriter.

Attached is an image of a page of text that some of my students typed a few weeks ago--to give you an idea of what they've been using it for.