Monday, November 17, 2014


I have a very old-fashioned streak in me.  I shave with a forty-five year-old Gillette safety razor; I write with dip pens (the oldest in my small collection is a "disposable" from about 120 years ago, being a spiral cardboard tube with a metal nib glued in the end).  I even use the USPS for sending actual letters to people.

Lately, I have taken it into mind to "modernize" and get a typewriter.  By good fortune, I was able to find a vintage IBM Selectric in good working order for a very reasonable price.  A quick trip to Charlotte and it was mine.  I have already written two letters on it.  (I say in passing that using a typewriter gives me new appreciation for the skills required to be a typist fifty years ago.  Unlike with a modern word processor - or even a more "modern" correcting typewriter - one really can't afford to be sloppy or careless as mistakes are VERY troublesome to correct!)

I was surprised to find that Caroline was just as intrigued by this device as ol' Baba, and likes to climb onto the paternal knee to bang the keys.

Can a record player be in her future?  An eight-track?  Will she try to learn to drive a three-on-the-column?

          Dear Sir;
          With regard to your letter of the 15th inst., I have the honor to acquaint you that...

N.B. Unfortunately, the typewriter appears to have gone down for the count shortly after this photo was taken.  My barely-educated guess is that the main drive sprocket fractured.  IBM made this from hard plastic, and forty-five years is a long time for a plastic piece to last.  It is apparently known by the cognoscente that this is about the only thing that really breaks in a Selectric.  Getting it repaired will take some doing, I'm afraid, parts having not been manufactured by IBM for decades and a typewriter repair shop being rather a rara avis these days.


  1. LOL. Sorry about your typewriter! I love sending letters through USPS as well. Hand written ones at that!

    1. I find that people tend to appreciate them a bit more than an e-mail, though I've had occasional remarks that it's harder to reply to a letter.