Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I was a kid that grew up in my grandparents’ house. My grandparents were well-meaning, yet they were half a century older than me, and they both grew up in the Great Depression. As such, we frequently saw things very differently. One frequent source of our contention was when I wanted a new toy.
Now, don’t get me wrong… my grandparents had money. Granddaddy was a wise investor in the stock market, and his investments paid off quite handsomely. However, though he was the sole breadwinner, he was not the one in charge of buying me anything.
Grandma had no problem spending money on something in which she saw value. For example, at twelve years old, she didn’t buy me Maybelline eye shadow or Wet ‘n Wild nail polish. No, she took me right down to the department store’s Estee Lauder counter and bought me only the best. But, by golly, if I wanted a new Barbie doll, she would wave her hand and dismiss me with, “Bosh! You don’t need a new one. There’s a whole trunk full of your mother’s Barbie dolls up in the attic.” So I often had to play with twenty year old toys when all my friends who had new ones. As such, I never really liked playing Barbies. I mean, come on! If all your friends had Surfing or Skating Barbie and Ken, whose knees and arms bent and who had good hair, would you want to be the weird kid who brought 1962 Barbie and Ken to the party?
For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’ll share with you a story about how I imagined I would write stories. As you already know if you’ve followed my blog for long, among other things, I loved to write stories when I was a kid. One of my other favorite pastimes was climbing trees. (Sadly, I was not allowed to build a treehouse, which for me would’ve been a dream come true.) The summer when I was eight-years old, I attempted to combine these two passions. I considered myself quite lucky one day when I found an old cigar box. I knew what I needed to do. I nailed that box high up in my favorite climbing tree. I loaded the box with loose leaf paper and pencils, and I imagined that I would spend hours in said tree writing The Great American Novel. I just knew that with that perfect setting, my heart would pour out through my pencil and bleed onto the paper, and people would come from miles around to read my work.
What I did not count on was the host of problems that ensued. I did not bring, nor did I own, a clipboard. I was not allowed to take my books outside, and I couldn’t think of anything else flat to use as a lap desk. Ergo, when I attempted to write by pressing my paper against the tree, as you can imagine, the bark of the tree made for a bumpy surface, and my writing was quite illegible. I was frustrated to say the least. At the end of my first day writing in my “aerial office,” I left with a mass of crumbled paper and ideas that still swirled in my head as I couldn’t get them out on paper.
The other thing I didn’t count on was the Florida weather. Overnight, it rained, and by the time I got outside to play the next day, my paper and cigar box were ruined. My dreams were shattered!
I thought I would never have something as cool as my “aerial office” again in which I could write my heart out. However, that Christmas, Santa Claus (who I’m sure was inspired by my Granddaddy who was a lot wiser to my desires than my Grandma, as long as they were educational) brought me my very own toy typewriter! Not only was this good for writing stories, but it also worked well for playing office. Of course, when I was busy playing outside, Grandma decided to use it to type out her recipe cards!
You’ve all heard me mention my toy typewriter before. Sadly, once I got my first real manual typewriter (pictured in my header above) for the Christmas when I turned eleven, Grandma put my toy typewriter up in the attic, then sometime later, she gave it to Goodwill. (Apparently she had no problem saving ancient Barbies, but two year old typewriters had to go!) At any rate, I recently found a duplicate of my old toy typewriter on eBay, and I purchased it. Yay, me!
Time to talk: Do you type with the correct fingers? Have you ever used a manual typewriter or even an electric one? Would you allow your granddaughter to build a treehouse in your tree?