Saturday, October 16, 2010

Goodbye Big Blue

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Manual typewriter Once upon a time, I decided I wanted to be a writer.  After killing my Dad's manual typewriter, we decided I should buy a typewriter of my very own.  Since I'd just got my first "real" job, I borrowed a couple of hundred dollars from my parents and bought an original IBM Selectric.  It was used and had seen some hard wear, and I was a writer who liked to work from clean copy.  Therefore, I'd type and retype all my drafts. That machine lived for a year before I traded it in for a brand new Royal electric typewriter.  Sadly, it was not built for the kind of punishment I dished out; RIP Royal typewriter -- in only 13 months.

By this time, I was writing--and constantly retyping--up a storm.  It was time to go for the big one.  A brand spanking new Selectic.  Not only that, but a Correcting Selectric II with a sound baffle.  (My brothers complained when I typed late into the night and kept them up.)  I had to take a loan out to get the Selectric and it was my pride and joy.

Big blue Selectric When I moved to California, it came with me (via air freight).  When I came home again, it rode in the back seat of my car.  I typed thousands of manuscript pages, hundreds of stencils, and probably a million letters to my friends.  I used up carbon ribbons by the boxload.

But after only a few short years, I was seduced by a new lover:  my first computer.  Talk about primitive.  It had two drives, one to hold the software and one to hold the disk with my stories.  (I used WordStar.  Oh, Wordstar ... how I miss you.)

Fast forward many years and now I have an iMac, a laptop and a PC (and use them all).  But Mr. Selectric II has sat in the closet for the past ten years gathering dust.  I couldn't even use it for envelopes any more because the power cord needed replacing.  Sometimes when you plugged it in it worked, and sometimes it didn't.

Trash tote I've mentioned on my own blog how I've been trying to reclaim my messy office, and so it was with great sadness that I hauled Mr. Selectic II out to the curb on Tuesday for trash day.  Oh, how I loved that typewriter.  It was the first major purchase I ever made . . . and now it was tossed away, like an old, uselesss boot.

I'll always remember it fondly.  (But I'd much rather write my books on a computer, thank you.)

Do you remember the first BIG purchase you ever made with your own hard earned bucks?