In the last few years, I have started reading obituaries in the Albuquerque Journal about people I’ve never met. I’m mostly interested in what people did during their lives and if they are not native New Mexico residents, how and why they ended up here. I feel that by reading these obituaries, I am in some small way honoring them for their accomplishments in life.
Last week, when searching through the obituaries, I found one for a man whose family noted that he was “a typewriter repairman most of his adult life…” It was an honest profession and he retired from it about the time it no longer became relevant. That was perfect timing.
When I drive through the town of Espanola, I am often amused by the sign painted on the side of a downtown building which proudly announces the name of the business inside as “Espanola Typewriter Repair.” I suspect the business ceased to exist many years ago and no one has taken the opportunity to paint over the sign. I imagine most people don’t even think about typewriters any more until they see that sign.
I’ve pounded out what I think must have been thousands of stories over the years on typewriters. I’m proud to say I still have one — an Underwood with a hefty metal frame and elite type face. It still works — qwerty keyboard and all — but I wonder if I can still find a ribbon for it.
It makes one think about what things we use and do frequently in our lives today that will no longer be relevant in about 20 years. In my case, I hope writing will still be relevant as long as I can do it and I can find someone who cares enough to read about what I wrote.