The Little Red Typewriter

Following, is a special memory and story for me, one that makes up the intricate tapestry of my creative self. And I’m wondering if you have any similar memories like this.


Do you believe that kids often know what they’re supposed to do in the world from a very young age? In my case, I think I did. I have a very strong memory from when I was around three years of age, the timing of which my mother was able to verify based on where I described we were living at the time.

photo-3On this particular day, my parents took my sister and me out shopping and we ended up in a toy store. I wandered around and was interested in many things, including a plaster of Paris kit, with figurines of Paddington Bear. But then, I saw a little red typewriter. I was struck with an all-encompassing need to have that typewriter. Soon after, my parents announced it was time to go. I began to cry, real tears of utter pain that I would be leaving without that typewriter.

‘What’s wrong?’ my mother asked, kindly. But I couldn’t articulate what the problem was. I’m not sure I even had a clear idea of what a typewriter did, yet I knew for some reason I desperately wanted it.

‘Do you want the typewriter?’ Mum asked, clearly confused. Then, ‘Or do you want the Paddington Bear kit?’

Now, here is where it got interesting. I can’t remember for exactly what reason–whether it was because I knew the typewriter was expensive, or whether it was because I didn’t think it was reasonable that a three-year-old should want a typewriter (I remember thinking both of those things, but am not sure which argument won out)–I pointed to the Paddington Bear kit and said yes I wanted that.

We took it home and I remember spending many happy hours out in the backyard under the trees making and painting those plaster moulds. I did love it.

But what my heart and soul really wanted that day was the typewriter.

For some completely inexplicable reason, I knew that I was here to create stories and bring them into the world, and at that time the way you did that was on a typewriter.

I was telling my mother this story on the phone recently and I choked up. The pain of leaving that typewriter behind was a strong as it had been when I was three. So when I hung up the phone, I searched ebay to see if there might be a similar one out there. And there was ONE. Just one. Sitting there for sale in England. So I bought it. And now it sits beside my laptop in my writing room and reminds my inner child (and therefore my inner artist) that I am a writer. That I’ve always been a writer. That I deserve to be a writer. That I hear that calling and I acknowledge it. My mission in life is there as a very real, tangible object–a realised dream.

If you’re a creator of any kind, I’m wondering if you have any memories like this? Or if you have any symbols around you  in your space that affirm your dreams? Or have you noticed something like this in your own children? I’d love to hear these if you do.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Eski Caterpillar! and commented:
    I didn’t have a typewriter moment, but I do remember writing and loving it from a very early age. I can remember writing to please younger brother and sister. I now enjoy helping people with re wording emails etc and writi by creatively to explain and entertain. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    1. Josephine says:

      Good on you, Eski! And thanks for reflagging x

  2. lolshelley says:

    Oh I love this post Jo. Sorry for only commenting now, several weeks later, but I hadn’t seen a notification about any new blog posts from you for a while so tonight I popped on to your blog to see what you’ve been up to and found this divine post. I LOVE your little red typewriter and the story behind it. I love the way you tracked it down all those years later. My ‘little red typewriter’ was a book I adored when I was a child, Ginny and the Mystery Doll by Catherine Woolley. I knew from the moment I lost myself in the mystery of Lady Vanderbilt that I wanted to be a writer. Tossing up between journalism and nursing, I ended up choosing nursing and my writing slipped into a quiet back corner; not gone, just waiting. Over the past few years it has slowly crept out of that quiet corner and is now back in all its noisy glory. I am working on my first novel (slow but steady), have started a blog and am embracing my writing once again. On several occasions over the years I have searched my parent’s house for that book. Finally, I asked my sister if she’d seen it and she feared it may have become tangled up with books she had taken to her very first school when she started teaching in the late 1980’s. Long gone. One night, Ginny popped into my head again and I decided to search EBAY on the ‘remote’ chance someone, somewhere was selling a copy. And they were. In the US. And now it’s mine, all mine. It sits on a bookcase in my room, with all my other treasured books, those signed by some of my favourite authors, and those waiting to be signed when I meet them one day (you included!) As I walk out of my bedroom every morning and see that simple little book, I am reminded that the magic and feeling that I got from reading and writing as a child, is still very much with me.x

    1. Josephine says:

      I just love this story, Shell! Well done for tracking Ginny down 🙂 It’s so important to connect with those early ‘knowings’ you had a child. Our inner artists are children so they love being acknowledged. Good job xx

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