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?

16 comments:

Dru said...

My first big purchase was a Fisher VHS VCR and it cost me a bundle and when it died from being well used, the replacement cost was a quarter of what I paid.

Ellery Adams said...

I love big blue! My first big purchase was a ten-speed bike. I called it Lady. (She was also blue).

Lorna Barrett said...

Dru, I know what you mean. My first beta VCR (then called VTR) was over $1,000. I bought a DVD player for $25 not too long ago. Big difference.

A bike called Lady? Sounds charming to me!

signlady217 said...

I remember the Selectric typewriters. What lovely machines they were, too! That's what I learned to type on in class.

CindyD said...

My first big purchase was a Singer sewing machine. It was well- I made most of my own clothes when I was first teaching.

Patty said...

I loved the selectric typewriters. We had them at work - nice machines and tough as nails, they were still in the building until a few years ago, still typing envelopes.

My first big purchase was a new car.

Rural View said...

My first big purchase with my own money was a bedroom set, and I still have the bureau in the guest room. The dresser (minus the mirror) has been painted green and is now a buffet in the dining room. They are now 54 years old!

I still have my old Selectric but it's going in the trash very soon. Loved it for a long time.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Sad. Sniff. But we have to move on.

MJ

mary kennedy said...

Oh no, it would be hard to say good-bye to a much-loved IBM Selectric...but not hard to say good-bye to carbon paper. Yikes, those were the days...

Bob Sanchez said...

Ah, typewriters. I used to make carbon copies with the carbon paper in backwards, never realizing it until I'd hunt-and-pecked my way through a whole page.

Computers are such a blessing for bumblers like me.

Lorna Barrett said...

Mary and Bob, I, too, put the carbon paper in backwards sometimes, too. I like computers and printers much better. But, oh, I loved that typewriter.

Vickie said...

My first big purchase with my own money was a 10 speed bike. I wanted one so bad, but the parents said I had to buy it on my own. Saved up all of my babysitting money from the summer and bought my shiny red bike. I rode that thing everywhere.
I used my mom's Royal typewriter. It was awesome. I love that sound of the keys.

Merry Lu said...

Back in 1972 I saved $50 to by a photo enlarger. I haven't used it in forever, but I still have it stored away in my basement.

P.S. I am amazed to learn that anyone misses WordStar. ;-)

Laurie said...

Gosh, I remember that ol' Selectric!! Seems to me it made a trip out to the 'wilderness' of Sodus Bay once upon a time. ::fond sigh::

I think my first big purchase was my Betamax video recorder. It cost over $700 (yes, I had to take out a loan) and she traveled hundreds and hundreds of miles as I hauled her along when I visited friends so we could watch copies of Trek & Starsky & Hutch. I think she's still tucked into our garage .... by the way, her name's Louise. (Not sure why, just seemed right.)

Thanks for bringing up memories. Sorry ol' Blue finally went to that typewriter store in the sky, but I'm so VERY glad you made that first big investment!

Miki Willa said...

My first big purchase, with my waitress tips back in college, was a brand new Bernina sewing machine. This was back when they were still made with metal parts. It is a heavy thing, but I still use it today, after 40+ years. I am still getting my money's worth.

Debra said...

My first important purchase was a Seiko wristwatch. I was so proud of it! It was a treat to myself before starting law school. It had the day and date in three languages. Unfortunately,my watch was stolen.
I also had a Selectric in college because my mom worked at IBM. I think we got it used. The other girls were so jealous!