Thursday, January 21, 2010

My grandmother's typewriter...

was an important part of my life. I used it steadily throughout my high school years for homework assignments, thrilled to be able to use this wonderful tool that had belonged to my grandma, Frances Yost.



After she and my grandfather both passed away when I was fourteen, my family moved from Wichita, Kansas to live in their home in Grace, Idaho.  Without really knowing how, I ended up with almost exclusive use of my grandmother's typewriter.  Shortly after moving in, it set up permanent residence on the desk in my bedroom.  I feel so privileged to have been able to use it.  I can't imagine all the amazing things she composed on that delightful old typewriter.

She was a prolific writer.  She wrote weekly newspaper columns for as long as I knew her, several books of poetry and stories, as well as having forty-two short stories and poems published in the old Relief Society Magazine.  And of course she wrote lots of letters, back in the day when personal correspondence included envelopes and stamps. Not a week went by without her familiar letter arriving to keep us up to date on her activities while living in Bancroft, and later Grace.  Regularly she would write about going to "Poky" which always made me giggle (ever since, I have referred to Pocatello the same way, also to my children's amusement); or she would make some mention of her neighbor-boy, Jimmy, whom they adored (who later became my great boy-next-door friend, Jim).

It was easy to distinguish grandma's letters from the other mail because of the distinct nature of her typewriter.  It typed in cursive.  It really did.  Here is a photo I found online that shows exactly what the font looked like.

  I'm sure she must have been thrilled when she was able to upgrade to such a fancy machine.



I  became pretty proficient at the hunt and peck system until I enrolled in Mrs. Harris's typing class in the 10th grade. And then a whole new world opened up to me. I loved being able to really type. I recall during the learning process that my fingers would constantly "practice" what they were learning. I couldn't sit and watch TV without spelling out the dialogue with my fingers.

When I was a senior, I utilized grandma's typewriter for another purpose that I believe she would have approved of.  I was given the assignment as Student Body Reporter for my high school to write a weekly column for the local paper, entitled "The Bear Facts".  Clever, huh?  I can't take any credit for the title.

Why do I share this?  Because as I have been writing my blog I have been reminded of those days when I would try to take the day-to-day happenings at Grace High School and spin them into something interesting to read about.  I tried to come up with new perspectives, new ways of looking at events that perhaps told the story in a fresh way.

I have been reminded how much I enjoyed the process.  The ideas just seem to flow right out of me. 

My sweet grandmother has always been an inspiration to me.  She managed to fill her days with interesting and productive pursuits.  Grandma, I'm trying...

8 comments:

Kim Despain said...

What a wonderful legacy left by your grandmother ~ great writing must be in your genetic code!

I love cursive typewriters! How cool are they?!?

Ardith Haws said...

Just found an old cursive typewriter on ebay. Nobody better bid against me!

Nancy said...

Good luck on winning the typewriter on ebay!

Kim Despain said...

You go girl!!

Maili said...

No wonder you are a great writer. It's in your genes. I had a thought as I read your post that maybe the reason you aren't as enamoured with scrapbooking as you used to be is that you are going to move on to something else. Writing?

Jim still has such great love and respect for your grandparents and tells me I'm a little like her. I take it as a huge compliment, although I am not a writer. I had fun remembering the weekly letters we got from my grandma that she typed on one that looked much like yours. Here's to grandmas and may we mean as much to our grandchildren as ours do to us! I hope you win the typewriter!

5Youngers said...

It definitely runs in the genes! You are an amazing writer.. what a wonderful legacy to continue. I remember learning to type on my Mom's digital typewriter.

laura said...

I love that you have her typewriter and that it types cursive - wow!! We have possession of an old typewriter, radio, camera etc...and I love all of them and their history.
Good luck on your bid!!

Ardith Haws said...

Missed winning the typewriter. My maximum bid was 99 and it sold for 100. I'm disappointed, but I won't stop looking.