I am about to reveal just how old I am by telling you that I first learned how to type on an actual typewriter. Not one of those electric ones where you can plug-in the margins and type on a small screen and then it magically appears on your paper. I am talking about the typewriters where you literally had to change the ribbon when you ran out of ink, and there was this great satisfactory fulfillment when you heard the ding as it approached the end of the paper and then swish the handle and start over again. Mistakes were unforgiving, because if you made a mistake, you better have some white out or start over.
My first typewriter was a gift from my grandfather a.k.a. Pita. I am not sure why he was called Pita, it was a name we had always called him. I have never known him by any other name. Henceforth, Pita is what we will call him from now on. Pita in my youthful eyes was a gentle old man who loved his family very much. He was also very tough and one hell of a cook, I can still smell the fresh red chili with lamb (a lamb he butchered himself). He adored both my sister and I, but I can admit that he adored my sister a tad more. Heck, I don’t blame him. Pita was also famous for making wood furniture with the classic Spanish Carvings, and boy, did that man love to fish. Every fond memory I have growing up revolves some sort of fishing trip. Our favorite fishing spot was a beautiful lake up North called Eagles Nest Lake. I learned to hook a worm and gut a fish before I learned how to put on eye liner. My love for nature definitely comes from my family taking me fishing and camping. There is just something about being in the open wilderness that makes my heart full.
Pita was also notorious for being quite frugal. Perhaps he was this way because he was always rather poor. I remember waiting in line when free food was being distributed- I was always so frazzled that they didn’t give away Twinkies. However, they did have the best cheese I ever tasted. This cheese was very similar to Velveeta, it came in a box and did not need to be refrigerated. It was good, good! This was also the first time I was introduced to powered milk. That milk wasn’t so bad when mixed with corn flakes and about 4 tablespoons of sugar. I love you sugar, but damn you for the cavities!
Going to the local dump was also a past time Pita enjoyed. I know it sounds rather odd for us moderners, because really, the dump. Mostly he went there to dump junk he needed to get rid of, and sometimes my sister and I would tag along. If she was telling this story to you right now, she would probably go on about what an awful brat I was because I wanted Pita to stop the truck and give me the red ball that was hanging on the telephone wire- you know those red balls to help airplanes see these wires so they don’t crash. I wanted that ball sooooooo bad. I like balls. Just ask my hubby. So anyway, my sister would probably exaggerate on the kind of fit I threw, about how I cried and cried and how I ruined everyone’s trip to the dump. But she would be exaggerating, because I knew how to take no as an answer.
If you have never visited a dump, I recommend it. It’s certainly not a place to take someone on your first date, but it certainly puts perspective into you. WE THROW AWAY A TON OF SHIT PEOPLE! That’s all I’m going to say about that.
So one day when I was happily playing with my Barbie doll, and it just might be that Barbie and Ken were about to get it on, when Pita showed up with a typewriter. It came with a cover and the ribbon was still good. He handed it to me and said, “Here, hita, for you.” I took it, put on my bed, looked for a clean sheet of paper and tested it out. He told me he found it at the dump. I didn’t care.
For the next few weeks my nose was glued to that piece of machine. In fact, I wrote stories that only a child would create. I wrote about “The Secret of the Stuffed Animals.” It was about the stuffed animals on my bed and how they only came alive when people were not around. They would then go on these grand adventures and somehow make it back in time before anyone knew they were gone. Sometimes one wouldn’t make it back and it would explain why we sometimes couldn’t find one of our favorite stuffed animal. Sound familiar? It should, because Disney stole that idea from me! You know the famous “Toy Story” animation. Fuck you Disney and Pixar for making something I thought of into a master piece! That’s all I’m going to say about that.
It’s a good thing I have this blog now, that way whatever great idea I come up with next won’t be stolen from me, since I now have copy rights to everything I write here- so take that Disney! Ha Ha!
I don’t know what happened to that typewriter. Maybe it ended back at that dump. Maybe someone who eventually works at Pixar found it and then found the story and that’s how Toy Story came into being. Maybe I am overly dramatic. Maybe. I do know this though– My Pita knew, somehow knew, that I would love that typewriter. I didn’t even know he knew I enjoyed writing. When he was at the dump he saw this old beat up typewriter that someone didn’t want anymore, and thought of me. He took it home, polished it up, gave it a tune up and then delighted to see me write with it. What I loved so much about him was that he was always like that- taking something or someone who was unwanted and then making it shine again. He took two little girls and loved them so that they would shine one day.
Pita died when I was 12 at our favorite lake on June 4, 1990. So this little post is dedicated to you Pita. I know you are proud when see how brightly your girls are shining.