I own a typewriter – an old black manual Corona with its own traveling case. I never really set out to become the owner of a typewriter. Someone offered it to me when I was in high school and I took it. It looked pretty.

I own a typewriter – an old black manual Corona with its own traveling case. I never really set out to become the owner of a typewriter. Someone offered it to me when I was in high school and I took it. It looked pretty.


I was born in the age of computers, so my typewriter remained a decorative object until recently. For no apparent reason, I decided last week to dust it off, load up a sheet of paper, and give it a spin. After all, how different could it be from a word processor?


Turns out, a typewriter is entirely different. I’m sure folks who grew up with the noisy machines would have laughed at me as I stumbled haplessly through a few sentences. It amazed me that, when I pressed a key, a complicated series of hinges and levers actually hurled a little physical letter at the paper. If I didn’t press hard enough, that letter would just kind of give up and wander off without doing anything. If that letter did hit its mark, I had to wait for it to go back to its little home before I sent the next one out or I would cause an alphabet traffic jam. And I don’t even want to tell you how long it took me to figure out that you can make an exclamation point by typing an apostrophe over a period.


Of course, the most difficult thing to get used to was the lack of a delete key. Errors can’t be waved away instantly and forgotten – the mistakes I make were inked forever on the page. This made me slow down and change the way I typed, but also, as I grew used to it, I found it changed the way I was thinking.


I had to be deliberate about everything I did. I had to know how a sentence was going to end before I started it. I’d never realized how much my thoughts were shaped by the ability to instantly and easily correct mistakes. The delete key had made me careless, unfocused, likely to lose track of what I wanted to say. Words are cheap on a computer, and I never knew how many of them I burned through before I got around to anything important. On that typewriter, though, my mind couldn’t afford to wander. Every letter was both precious and permanent. When I put the machine back in its case, I felt mentally exhausted, but also proud. I think the experience was good for me.


Maybe I’ll bring the typewriter up to work and write my next news assignment on it. If only I knew where to buy ribbon…



Happy birthday Wednesday to Janet Hudson, Trey Jones, Nelda Williams Barker, Shancey Franklin, Willie Maurice Brown Jr., Carolyn Spencer and Anthony Smith, all of Sherman; Don Tuley of Denison; Wayman Chilcutt of Whitesboro; Beau Blevins of Dallas; Faye Fugett of Anna; Karol Kolb Parker of Richardson; Rhea Buckner Leslie of Celina; Connor Kirby of McKinney.


Happy anniversary Wednesday Jackie and Sherry Reynolds of Savoy, 31 years; Lawrence and Cheryl Harvey of Whitewright, 23 years.