JD Salinger used to bring his typewriter into the Twin State Typewriter store in Vermont three or four times a year with a key crisis. So did people you’ve never heard of.
And soon, it will be no more; a metaphor for the passage of time.
Its now elderly owners are giving up and closing the store, the Boston Globe says.
“There was a child in here the other day with his mother. And he says, ‘Can I type on this?’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ And he’s typing and he calls his mother over and I heard him say: ‘Where’s the delete button?’ ’’ owner Wanda Nalette, 68, says.
“My customers are calling me, and they’re like: ‘What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?’ ” Wanda says.
They represent the invisible among us. They’re the people who eschew the digital wave that’s made us more productive and less connected to each other.
“It’s the tactile satisfaction,” author David McCullough said in the documentary, “California Typewriter.” “It’s part of our humanity.”
Humanity. So old school.
Good writers love typewriters. That should tell us something about the rush to create quantity and declaring it good. Quality still matters to some people.
Typewriters provide the sound of things getting done.
“Those keys pop up. You can see what’s happening. I mean in a different way than you see it electronically on the screen. Much more personal. You’re really involved. You roll in the paper. You scroll it in. You know what’s happened,’’ Laura Waterman, whose first novel, written on a 50-year-old typewriter, is about to be published.
The typewriter store could be a melancholy short story, the Globe says.
It could be the tale of a beloved machine — once a fixture on every office desk — that atrophied into an anachronism, useful now as a prop in a period movie, or a piece in a museum.
Its devoted followers here are determined to keep their sturdy writing companion alive as long as they can still pound the keys and hear the bell that calls for another carriage return.
Then they’ll tap out another line of type. More ink pressed into a piece of paper. Something they’re certain is more durable and more tactile than alphabetic pixels dancing across a bright electronic screen.