We inherited this 1917 Corona typewriter when we moved my MIL into memory care. The typewriter sat on a dusty shelf in my MIL’s garage. For years, my in-laws refurbished antiques, but with my FIL’s unexpected death four years ago and my MIL’s recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the antiques gathered dust, not new owners.
As I inspected the old-school typewriter, I noticed its manufacturer, Corona Typewriter Co. It’s 2020 and ironic that this year “corona” has a whole new meaning. Corona means virus. I also noted the typewriter’s age, made in 1917 – the year before that “other virus,” the Spanish flu threatened our world’s health.
In my MIL’s garage, while inspecting the typewriter’s condition, visions of WPM challenges and white-out autocorrection triggered memories of late-night research papers and of keeping up with my boss’ dictation; jogging memories of typists’ rules – to double space after punctuation and to include five spaces when beginning a new paragraph –
Many typewriter rules have vanished as have the chorus of the dinging typewriters’ returning carriages, but the memories are vivid and remain.
Deciding if I should take the typewriter, I thought,
My typewriter memories are clear. I remember. I remember fondly and positively my history.
Alzheimer’s robs memories.
Thankfully, right now, it hasn’t stolen mine.
Being able to think, to create, to type, and to remember are gifts.
I boxed up the Corona, put it into the Uhaul trailer, and drove it, along with my MIL’s personal belongings, 750 miles – from CO to PHX. We unloaded the Uhaul but left the boxes for three weeks while we settled my MIL into her new home. Because of coronavirus, my MIL’s memory care center is in lockdown and closed to visitors. I decided to open the boxes, finding the Corona.
I brainstormed how to display the typewriter and its symbolism in our home, Esperanza.
I found the Corona 3 font online, typed and printed my favorite quote,
“that possibility absolutely exists,”
and fed the printed paper with its specialty font into the typewriter’s carriage.
The Corona typewriter and its typed message belong here.
To our world, Corona still means a virus, but to me, it now also means esperanza, hope.
The possibility of us, too, developing Alzheimer’s someday absolutely exists, but right here, right now, we are filling Esperanza with esperanza.
No typos, you read that right,
what’s meaningful to us
we can remember.