Two were in school, one was at a friend's house, and for once I didn't have anything pressing to do during these rare child-free hours. No errands to run, no meetings to attend. I could finally visit the antique mall, a trip I'd been lusting after since September, and hunt for a mirror for the bare entryway wall.
I did not find a mirror, but something else found me. My hands, in fingerless gloves, ran across the keytops. "Oh, this is fantastic," I exhaled. Then smiled at the word I had just used and knew it would probably follow me home.
I adore antique malls. I love how every booth is just a little bit different, how this one has a library cabinet designed for a former senator and the next has nothing but kitchy '70s crockery. The something-for-everyone-ness of it inspires me. Uneeda biscuit tins, ancient cigarette cases, a sad stuffed fawn, a neglected hidden menorah (I moved it to a table, it needs a family), bejeweled lapel pins, Ziggy books, the plastic pastry mat my mom had when I was a kid, an Ansco Pioneer camera.
The typewriter, a Remington Standard 12, spoke to me and begged to be brought home. I listened, then spent the afternoon blissed out on introducing the kids to it, learning how it works, and researching it. Like our home (and maybe my soul?) it was born in the 1920s. It smells amazing, like old, old steel, ink, and oil. It has mechanical mysteries to solve and the kind of keypads that people make into jewelry these days. It has a decal that reads "To save time is to lengthen life." It is a thing of beauty.
None of us could get enough of touching the keys and watching the typebars move to strike the ancient ribbon, which blessed us by having just enough ink left in it to leave ghostly words on the paper.
Griffin's amazement with the new writing instrument could be rivaled only by one thing: his belated birthday party, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
"Parties. Fantastic." He would have used exclamation points, but the typewriter is missing a 1/! key. I can't wait to tell him tomorrow that it was made that way on purpose. Isn't that fantastic?