Typing Writer.2

Oh yes, oh yes, I do indeed have a Smith-Corona portable stashed away under our fancy new computer, and I bang away on it at least once a week, generator or no generator. (Please note the new page titled: “Typing Writer.” Look to that page for weekly missives written on this Smith-Corona and downloaded into this computer using what for me is modern technology.)

Typing Writer

The Writing Life

By Charles McKelvy

Some years back, certainly before June 2009, I purchased a refurbished Smith-Corona portable typewriter from Firme Office Supply in Michigan City, Indiana.


Because we were having one power failure after another back then, and we did not have a generator, and I was writing for three newspapers, and—well, it made sense to have a back-up writing machine that relied only on human power.

That’s what I told Natalie at the time, and she okayed the purchase, which I know was well under $100. Probably more like $50.

Anyway, I wanted that Smith-Corona portable at Firme Office Supply because I had had one just like it at Morgan Park High School in Chicago. That good, old Smith-Corona served me well enough to produce a letter-perfect term paper my senior year that won me an A in both English and Civics. I took that Smith-Corona to Illinois State University with me, and it continued to work its magic, even earning me a little drinking money by banging out last-minute papers for desperate fraternity brothers. As in: Hey, Goodtime (my nickname), you’re an English major, and you got that fancy typewriter, how about making some easy money writing my paper on the sex lives of fruit flies that’s due tomorrow at 8 a.m. Of course, they had the nerve to complain when my caffeinated efforts got them only Cs and Ds, but my Smith-Corona and I were making our way through college with money to spare.

Yep. Been there, and done that with a Smith-Corona that, sadly, I gave away when fancy computers came of age.

So, of course, I wanted that Smith-Corona portable at Firme Office Supply, and, of course, I bought it and brought it home, and, yes, when we lost power for more than three days in June 2009 to a 90 mph wind shear, I broke out my new, used tool and banged out copy for the newspapers I was writing for at the time. I literally handed them copy that they were able to scan into their computers, and off we went.

We suffered more power outages in the meantime, and I have put that Smith-Corona back on my desk next to the dead computer and banged out copy the old-fashioned way. Took my fingers, hands and wrists and bit of conditioning, but they came around, and I got to writing up a storm on the old manual again.

Loved it.

And I still do, even though we had enough of power outages by installing a full-house generator in April 2016.

We’re never without power now, and the computer knows it.

But it also knows that there—under the desk upon which it sits all proud and gleaming—stands a Smith-Corona portable ready to go to work.

And go to work it does on a weekly basis when I write to some friends who don’t get out much the old-school way.

They enjoy the typed letters I send them, and I enjoy composing on my new, used Smith-Corona. I like the feel, the smell, and the bell that signals it’s time to hit the return bar and start a new line of type. All of it is so, so good.

So good, in fact, that I’ve come up with this crazy idea:

How about I start a page on this blog called Typing Writer and post weekly musings composed on my Smith-Corona.

Any interest?

Your typed responses will be greatly appreciated.

Write on!



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January Still Life

This serene site greeted me Saturday as I snowshoed around the neighborhood before all the snow melted. We’re getting a wet dusting Tuesday morning, but it’s not enough for good snowshoeing. Sorry, Charley.

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Snow Leopard

Our snow leopard finally decided to get out and enjoy the snow before it all melted Sunday and Monday.

Better not be followin’ me.

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Typing Writer

Oh yes, oh yes, I do indeed have a Smith-Corona portable stashed away under our fancy new computer, and I do intend to use it. In fact, I have been using it, and I will post the essay it inspired, just as soon as I download it into the computer.

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The Shadow Knows

(Harbert, Michigan) The Shadow knows that you should admire these amazing ice formations along Lake Michigan from a safe distance and refrain from walking on them, especially during the current thaw. Here’s a better look, from a safe distance:

The Shadow knows.

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Hanging on to Winter

(Michigan) Sorry, guys, the big thaw rolled into town today. Your day is numbered, one drip at a time.

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Looking up at Macy’s

(Chicago, Illinois) With less than two shopping days left before Christmas, frantic consumers at Macy’s on State Street scarcely had time to breathe let alone look up and appreciate the Tiffany Dome above them. Designed by Louis C. Tiffany himself, the dome was installed in 1907 in what was then Marshall Field’s department store and contains more than 1.6 million pieces of iridescent glass.

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