Typewriters sound like you’re actually doing something, like sentences are being yanked into the world, possibly against their better judgement, and when all is said and done, you will have A Thing to hold and show the world. I should probably note that I don’t miss actually using typewriters (manual or not), because word-processing is much kinder to my bad typing and changing thoughts. But I miss that sound, what sounded to me like the heartbeat of words.
I miss handwritten letters — real letters, not thank you notes, not yearly and uninformative Christmas cards, but real letters. The kind in which my best friend and I would go on for 12, 15, 20 pages, the kind in which people would tease out their thoughts and feelings even as they wrote, thoughts and feelings they might not have shared, had they had access to a backspace button.
I miss LPs. They felt like something substantial, they felt like they really were one step away from the artists themselves. I miss big, 12 x 12 inch cover art, I miss the gatefold of double-albums, I miss the ritual of cleaning the record, cleaning the needle, setting it down, then there’s that scratchy bit and – sound. Much better sound that MP3s, of course, and possibly better than CDs, but I will admit that my ear isn’t sensitive enough for the latter. I miss judging people by how they treated my records, and I miss knowing that that judgement was accurate.
I miss going shopping for school supplies. It’s true that I actually do go shopping for school supplies every year, not once but twice, but the supplies are not for me. I don’t get to choose the folders, or the pencils, or (indeed) the clothes. I don’t get to wake up of a September morning and feel new and shiny. Indeed, at 48, I very rarely feel new anymore, if I do occasionally feel shiny, but the real point, I think, was the pencils and the notebooks. And sure, now I can buy a bunch whenever I want to – but that’s not new. Or shiny. That’s just having a driver’s license.
More than anything, though, I miss my babies and my toddlers. They were lovely, you know? Well, perhaps you don’t, but they really were. Here, see?
The world is a better place without typewriters and LPs, and my children are a delight at any age. But some things, some times, will always be missed, even if that which comes after is a blessing.
And some things I will never miss. But perhaps that’s a different post.