A Typewriter & Roquefort Cheese

Summer of 1966. Me with the Underwood Five in the background.
Summer of 1966. Me with the Underwood Five in the background.  That small room held the dining room table, the upright piano, a bookcase, my mother’s desk, a combo radio/record player and the typing table.
underwood _five
To learn more about the Underwood Five, click.

I was hoping that this week I could find a photograph of someone in the family actually typing. I could not. I did find several photographs with a typewriter in the background. I chose this one of me in 1966 sitting in our dining room with our trusty Underwood in the background.  It was an upgrade from the ancient Underwood we had before.

I also found a story that I wrote on this very typewriter a little over a year later. I share it below.  I wrote it for a Creative Writing class at Waynes State University. The story alternates between a journal entry I wrote about a trip to Santa Barbara, CA and wanting to leave home and the rather strange story of #305751 (my student ID number) who works for a multinational corporation giving away cheese samples on the streets of Detroit.   Judging by all of the corrections, this was not the copy that I turned in.  I hope. Click on any page to enlarge.

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27 thoughts on “A Typewriter & Roquefort Cheese”

  1. Well that was kind of odd, but also totally endearing. 🙂 I especially love that you posted the story intact, typos and weirdness and all. Sounds like you had a creative mind even back then and tried to so some interesting stuff with your story. I don’t know why but the switching back and forth really worked for me. I like it!

    I miss my dad’s old typewriter. I’m sure I would find it very frustrating, but at the same time I used to have a lot of fun with it. Would love to try it to write a full story.

    1. The past few summers I have tried using a manual typewriter to write some poems. It is so clunky and s-l-o-w! But I do like the way it looks. Back then, I had no idea how fast and smooth writing on a machine could be.

      The switching back and forth didn’t work at first but eventually it did. I think this is my favorite story. Out of about 4 that I ever wrote completely on my own. I’m glad you liked it.

  2. Grate Work Agent 305151.
    Poetry by Typewriter .I like it
    …and,of course ,the noise while we typed. ( I miss the noise.And the tactile pressure of thumping the keyboard…it was almost as if we were molding each letter……)
    So you had to re-type the corrected script? Long work…..no copy+paste in those days!

    1. The only saving grace was that I didn’t know there was any other way! I did write things out long hand and move things around that way before typing. I still do that sometimes when I’m using the computer.

      The typewriter I used to write the poems was so loud and clunky it was like molding the letters. And the name of that typewriter was “Remington Soundless”

  3. You not only had the picture of the typewriter, you had the creative result too – wonderful that you had kept it over all the years. The image of it reminded me of the typing I have that my father did – the same look on the page. I cannot imagine now going back to an old manual – my fingers seem to get dyslectic at times and I could not manage without my computer spellcheck – never mind all the other marvellous options we can do when writing on computer.

    Family History Fun

  4. Terrific story #305151 !
    I have similar typewritten stories and poems from my youth, though mostly after school was finished when I didn’t need to worry about a teacher’s critical review. Today we have spell check and even grammar check, but it doesn’t compare to the satisfying clunk of typewriter key hitting the paper.

    1. It was more of a workshop than a class and the teacher’s comments were actually helpful, as I remember. I had poems I wrote back then but they were sort of disturbing so I decided to share the story.

  5. Imagination is a wonderful thing & kudos to you for putting it on paper – not once, but apparently several times. More people should try because they might very well surprise themselves with what they’re capable of. Those who think they can’t, so don’t, will never know what they might have been able to accomplish and that’s just sad. I didn’t know if I had it in me to write a novel, but I was determined to try and surprised the heck out of myself. Now . . . if I could just get it published! 🙂

  6. Wild! Somehow reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. The switching between first and third person, while perhaps unintentional, adds to the dislocated strangeness!

  7. I’m impressed that you even have a tiny portion of typewriter in a photograph. Great to see the results of your efforts as well.

  8. Ah Kristin. I love this post. Some great images and phrases here – I could feel how wet and sodden in spirit poor 305751 was. I particularly liked “doing nothing but going around slow inside” and the birds described as a fast movie going faster..they can be like that can’t they? Thank goodness we are past the days of Bundy clocks – well I am at least.

  9. Have you written anything as an adult? You should, I think — your teenage-self had a HUGE streak of creativity…and those streaks usually don’t go away…they get mellower and cleaner! Go for it, Kristin!

    1. I was 21 when I wrote this, so had escaped my teen years. There was a time in my 40s where I wrote on a lot of continuing stories with 3 other people, four part stories. Not the same people, but various groups over the years. I haven’t written any other fiction complete by myself since my college days.

  10. A distinctly strange but interesting story. I used to write summaries of legal cases for a law publishing company, and I really don’t know how I managed to do them in pre-computer days – I must have had to re-type them so many times, or maybe I just used an awful lot of whiteout!

  11. I really enjoyed that story Kristin. Although I never wrote anything as creative as that, it somehow reminded me of my own typewriting days, typing out handwrittem lecture notes so that they would stick in my head.

  12. In college, I had my aunt Gail’s old hand-me down Royal portable. Sticky keys, some dinna strike very well. I had forgotten how the pages looked in those days — but you reminded me well Thanks for sharing your story — I wished I had kept some of my earlier stuff. Write more, now.

  13. I learned on an older Underwood in High School,
    but had a more modern one at home, fortunately.
    I’m glad 305751 moved on from cheese samplings to sorting out papers.

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