In honor of our anniversary we “mobilized” our typewriters for a “Type-A-Thon” (Look out Amazon!). Cindy oiled and dusted a half dozen machines from the collection and we set up a couple of typing pools in the store and opened the doors last Thursday.
The whole event almost came to a screeching halt when the first customer saw the blackboard announcement and grumbled “only on Mercer Island!” Apparently he misread the sign to be a “Type A”-thon and thought that genetics and drinking the local water ought to be enough to assure that our children grow up to be leaders and that we didn’t need to have some sort of championship at the bookstore. We straightened him out and then invited him and the public to bang out their thoughts and frustrations on the old black keys.
The public was shy at first but a few ringers showed up and got the place tapping. We had poets, grateful customers, parents teaching children about the shift key, long discussions about the merits of “magic margins,” former secretaries, current writers. Two quotes from the sheaves of onion skin:
“Another memory is receiving typed letters from my grandmother who liked to type in carbon so she could send the same letter to all of the grandchildren at once. It was a bummer to receive the last of the four copies because the type was rather faint.”
“Dear Island Books, Thank you for letting me use the typewriters. It was really fun. I really enjoyed it. My mom put this day on the calendar a long time ago, and we have been counting down the days. I loved it. Typewriters are a lot different than computers. You can’t save anything on the desktop unless it was your literal desktop.”
And finally, hats off (again!!!) to Terry Pottmeyer for the wonderful inspiring postcard with the trivia, instructive challenges, and fantastic watercolors. Did you know that “stewardesses” is the longest word typed solely with the left hand? Even better, “lollipop” is the right hand longest word. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party….
More photos available on our Facebook page.