How To Pass The 'Friend' Test

by - June 15, 2015

underwood universal typewriter
When I arrived at the chili cook-out, I plopped down my chair and greeted my friends.

"I have something for you," she said mysteriously.  "We were garage saling and we saw it and we both knew - 'Alanna would LOVE this!' - we had to get it for you."

Naturally I was curious and thinking 'what in the world?' and that this was a test - not of me but of her...does she really know me??

I followed her to the driveway where she opened the hatch of her Kia.

And there sat a black case.

For a second I thought: sewing machine? which I thought: Bah - she doesn't know me at all!

But then I thought: typewriter?

And then I squealed, "Is it a typewriter???!!!"

We popped the top off the case and heaven opened up and glory shone down and a million angels sang hallelujah on my head.


A filthy old Underwood Universal that smelled dank and dirty like the shed at Grandma's old farm house.

I was beside myself with gratitude and offered to pay her for it but she waved me off like I was crazy.  "It was nothing," she said.  "It was only five bucks," she told me.  "We knew you had to have it."

The best gift is a reflection of its receiver.

I have dreamed of having a typewriter for oh, so long.  And to find one for $5? That's unheard of!  Every market I go to, every antique shop, even the aisles of The Salvation Army - I have been on the lookout for such a find.  And I have found them - for prices north of $50. {and let's be honest - the salary of a starving artist does not a typewriter dream realize}

Three Reasons I Wanted A Typewriter


1. Nostalgia.  I learned to type on a typewriter when I was nine or ten.  My father had a loud blue beast that tapped and dinged and I felt alive back then, sitting at it, writing short stories about dragons and orphans while those loud letter blasts echoed throughout the house.

2. Envy.  I have a writer friend who likes to type his first drafts on a typewriter and I find that wildly romantic and his process makes me mildly jealous.  I don't know that I have the patience to type a full manuscript but I would certainly use it for poetry and art - or simply for the inspirational soundtrack it produces or the images it conjures - for the black and whites of William Faulkner, poised at his desk with his pipe... 

3. Beauty.  They're gorgeous, sculptural pieces of history, representatives of great works of art {and elegant ladies with perfectly styled hair}.

I loaded the case into my car with plans to clean it up and get it working the next day.  

And goodness was it filthy.  I removed it from it's case and set it on the deck floor and scrubbed and rub-a-dubbed and q-tipped it until it shone.

underwood universal typewriter - cleaning

Oh Glory Be! Before me sat a beautiful dream! And with some clever finagling and restringing of the ribbon, I had myself a working typewriter.

underwood universal typewriter

And p.s. She totally passed the 'does she know me at all' friend test with flying colours, a gold star, and an A++

June is GIVEAWAY month here at SelfBinding Retrospect.   I'm challenging you to take some time for yourself, share the ways you unplug and recharge, and enter for your chance to win a cute little gift pack I've put together with some of my own favorite 'Stolen Moments' tools.  I'm taking entries through the entire month of June.  Check out the giveaway page to enter!

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  1. What a beauty! Wishing you many hours of sweet inspiration.

    (And there is no doubt she would pass the friend test ;) )


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