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in which an old Underwood superimposes the past over the present

April 26, 2009

I’ve been busy with the annual house spring-cleaning/junk-purging/garage sale-prepping the last few days. It can be quite a production for a family of pack rats single-mindedly intent on cluttering up a 6-bedroom 4,000 sq. ft. Greek Revival built in 1880.

Actually, with a little prodding and a lot of bribing, the boys can generally be counted on to pick up after themselves on a regular basis- this includes caring for 2 Russian Tortoises (Bob & Bebop), a Bearded Dragon (Jeanie), and a year-old Yorkie (Jackie).  This year’s ordeal just happens to coincide with a fresh infusion of stuff from relatives who were wise enough to do their clearing-out months ahead of everyone 😉

And so the house currently looks like Antiques Roadshow exploded in it:



Some cool finds:

  underwood      camera

Once things settle down, I’ll inspect the Underwood closer for its serial number and look up what year and model it is. For now, I can’t help thinking of Hemingway and A Moveable Feast whenever I look at it, although I think it was Steinbeck who used an Underwood.

Years ago, while still at University, I did the requisite dreamer’s admiration for the noble life of the starving writer bit and envisioned myself in a garret somewhere in the thick of New York, chain-smoking and rattling away reams of literary brilliance on a typewriter exactly like this. That it now sits in a place of honor on the bookshelf, having arrived in my possession under completely different circumstances than I once imagined, doesn’t take away from its symbolic portentousness. It now remains to be seen how much it influences my presently sporadic and choppy writing.

In the meantime, I’ve put my foot down and refused to clear any more books from the shelves to make room for curios:


Additional shelves will have to be built, but not by me as I’ll soon be in my makeshift garret, writing.

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