The 10th Annual Typewriter Meetup

I’m tired. I’m not going to lie. My body is doing that thing where, after a short period (48-72hours) of intense emotions and peopling, it wants to just shut down and recharge. I tried to let it last night. I figured out that I had enough laundry that I wouldn’t need to spend any time last night working on the whole clothes in the washer-clothes in the dryer-clothes get put away thing.

It’s a little over 12 hours since I got home from the Chestnut Ridge Antique Typewriter Museum Annual Meet-up, affectionately known by all who attend as “Herman’s.”

Once a year, Herman Price, who has probably one of the single largest collection of antique typewriters, opens his home to us crazy weirdos who still love typewriters (or just discovered or re-discovered their love for the machines) to come together for a weekend of presentations, swapping/buying/selling typers, and of course, making memories with people who are part of this tribe.

Last year I was on shaky footing and didn’t feel like I fit in. I came home with one typewriter last year. This year I came home with five. And I came home with some awesome memories.

The Machines
All are good machines and good to type on. Also, all are considered ‘portable.’ A term which may changed over the years

  • Underwood-Olivetti Lettera 22; late 50’s model
I have been wanting a Lettera 22 for a while now. Pretty much since I knew that’s what Leonard Cohen wrote on. I know it sounds silly, but there are worse reasons to covet a particular model. I really wanted an olive green one, but this blue one fell in my lap for a price I couldn’t walk away from. When I got it home to type on, somehow it didn’t feel quite like I thought it would. I know that it needs a little cleaning and a new ribbon. Once it’s up to speed, I might feel a little differently toward it. In short, I know it has something to tell me. I just need to let it speak when its ready. 
  • Hermes Rocket; 1956
This is the second Hermes Rocket in my collection. I love the design and feel of the Rocket.  This guy needs to be cleaned. There’s a slight issue with the ribbon holder that I need to look into as well. I may be cleaning/fixing this little guy and helping him find a new home. I don’t know that I need two Rockets just now. We’ll see how this plays out. 
  • Sears Chieftain (a.k.a. Smith-Corona Sky-riter); 1950’s
This little guy is light and smooth and will drop easily into a laptop bag. He needs cleaning and a new ribbon and then I’ll figure out where I stand on him.
  • Olympia SM3; 1954
I fell in to this little beauty because no one bid on her during the silent auction. I have to admit. Out of the typers that I picked up today, she is by far my favorite. The heavy think ka-chunk and the pistol sharp report when the striker hits the paper is just…well, it’s what I typerwriter always sounded like in my head. In short, a new ribbon on her and she’s poised to become my favorite machine. 
  • Olympia SM3 Deluxe; early 1950’s
This beauty was a steal at $26. I picked her up at an Antique Mall on the way to Herman’s. Monica said that I would be a fool not to pick up the ‘Cadillac of typewriters’ at the price they were asking. So, I did. And after I got her home last night, I see that my choice was justified. I’m not sure what’s different yet between the 3 and the 3 Deluxe, but I will be putting a fresh ribbon on her too and taking great delight in finding out.
The Memories
It was fun to have quite a few people on Friday night tell me how much fun I was going to have at Herman’s. As though it were my first year. These are people that I talked to last year. But last year, I didn’t really go out of my way to interact.  I just mostly hung around Monica and was ‘Monica’s friend’ when people saw me. I was a bit shy and didn’t want to be the guy asking stupid questions. 
This year was different. This year I was Todd. I made memories and after a year of talking to many of the participant’s online in the Facebook group, I was fully ready to engage and enjoy myself. 
It was a wholly different experience. Last year was great, don’t get me wrong, but this year was moreso. It was definitely an enhanced experience full of some truly magical moments. 
There are so many things that I got to be a part of this year from being in this tribe that merit their own posts. One was being asked to take a Vari-typer that is part of a special collection and project. That whole thing will get its own post. As will the experience of getting a private screening of the movie California Typewriter. Talk about a religious experience!
Yes. I am tired. Yes. I wanted to sleep in one more hour this morning.
But I am a dreamer. And a writer. And my dream is that  you’re sitting here reading this and thinking, “damn-I want to get in on some of that typewriter love!”
To  which I say, “See you at Herman’s!”

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