I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Dad’s typewriter became key tool for me

Recently my son asked about my father’s old typewriter. Would I lend it to him for awhile? Would I? I was thrilled that he showed interest in the old typewriter, but I was not lending the ancient machine. I planned to give it to him.

My husband got it down from the shelf where it had set for about twenty years. When my pastor father passed on in 1988, I took the typewriter. After twenty years on the shelf, it held layers of dust that needed to be moved. Cleaning it up revealed many problems. The spool was jammed. The ribbon was disintegrating. Telling Chris the machine needed lots of work, I passed it on.

I hadn’t thought much about that typewriter in some time, but Chris asking for it brought back why I had wanted it in the first place. While I don’t know for certain how old it is, I can guess. After he returned from World War II, my dad sought direction for his life. It was then he felt called into the ministry. For that he felt the need for an instrument on which to type papers, letters and sermons. He found a second hand typewriter he used for the rest of his life.

Dad’s typewriter always fascinated me. I loved to hear the click-click of the keys. I found the sound a comfort. I began writing stories and poems longhand as young as second and third grade. I filled notebooks with my work, but said very little to anyone else about what fueled my heart and imagination. Some of my teachers shared a few things I’d written with my family. They knew I often entertained my younger brother with wild imaginative tales.

My sister discovered what I was about while I was in fourth or fifth grade. She read some of my pieces. I thought she’d laugh and was amazed that the sister with whom I often fought didn’t laugh at all. In fact, against my will, she shared my writing with our parents. They didn’t laugh either. In fact, I found support and encouragement.

We moved to Kansas and I turned thirteen. I finally had a horse and I loved writing about the 4-H mare that would give me my own foal. However, I contracted Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and very quickly went from active to constant pain and watching my body morph into something I did not recognize. I somehow found a sense of peace in Dad’s office. Even more so when he allowed me to peck out my stories and poems on his old typewriter.

During those time of creativity, the pain receded somewhat. As I spent more time writing, I grew in my skills and writing abilities. I used that typewriter until years later when Dad served a church in Iowa. A published writer, Margaret Freeman, in the congregation took me under her wing and taught me the business. But I needed more than a manual machine with my limited finger movement. The congregation gifted me with an electric typewriter. Thanks to that machine and Margaret, I begin to sell stories and so much more.

I sold stories and articles and program material for years before writing and selling novels, several of which garnered awards. I’d come a long way from that old trusty typewriter. I look back and am thankful my father encouraged his young hurting daughter to use a machine that helped her deal with her life and helped set the stage for her career as a writer.

I’m glad Chris inquired about the old machine that forced me to remember and give thanks.

By Carolyn R Scheidies
Published 9/23/2019 Kearney Hub

Read more about my life in The Day Secretariat Won the Triple Crown


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