Often, after browsing through my shop, people send me emails and ask, “However do you think of all those stories?” Well, I suppose it’s time for me to come clean: I don’t think of them at all.
My Uncle Wentzel (yes, that’s his real name) has always been a collector. “He’s a pack rat is what he is” insists my Aunt Angie, with a belabored sigh. And given that he has saved the miniscule amount of mercury out of every lightbulb he has ever changed and kept it in an enormous jar that must weigh about 80 pounds, I can kind of see her point. But that seems a small price to pay for the cabinet of curiosities that is their attic. Oh, you could find absolutely anything up there, anything at all. I always find some pretext for rummaging around up there whenever I visit, and it was on one such visit that I found this very typewriter sitting in an open antique suitcase, surrounded by questionable specimen bottles and a dusty old microscope. It was the coolest thing I ever saw, I had to have it. “Oh for Pete’s sake, let her take it, Wentzel! She’s your goddaughter and you haven’t touched the damn thing in three decades”, scolded my Aunt. “But, but…that’s not any ordinary typewriter!” he sputtered. “That’s a Fox typewriter from Grand Rapids, Michigan!” After 45 years of marriage, my Uncle could spot battles he was losing from a mile away. “Everybody talks about Underwoods – bah!” he said, taking me aside. “This one is the best. But be careful with it, it’s moody”, he added, mysteriously.
I lugged it home and found the perfect spot for it in my study. I had no real plans to use it, but I fed a sheet of paper into it for authenticity’s sake and admired its considerable retro charm. Then I went to bed. The next morning, I wandered in my study with my tea and found an entire story about one of my recent art pieces neatly typed out on the paper. Even under fierce interrogation, no one in the household would admit to writing it. I was awakened late that evening to the faint sound of typing coming from my study and tiptoed in to find the very lovely lady you see here hopping from key to key, giving a little shimmy and shake at the end of every sentence. She froze on one toe when she saw me and dove into an antique umbrella stand. She must have returned later to sign her work, though: Calliope Cookie. So Calliope is my muse, she writes all my stories, just as Winona Cookie inspires my art. Every once in a while she goes on strike and types “All work and no play makes Calliope a soggy cookie” over and over again on the blank sheet of paper I hopefully feed into the Fox now every time I finish a piece. When that happens, I know to leave her a shaker of dry martinis and a plate of olives and tapas, which generally results in a particularly colorful tale. So that’s the truth about my stories, and the best typewriter ever. Sometimes older technology has its advantages.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2009. Copyright to this material is in no way transferable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!