Friday, December 29, 2006


Found this old portable Underwood typewriter at a thrift shop, Housing Works, in the Chelsea section of Manhattan one Saturday morning many years ago.

I’m not much into antique-ish objet d’art or furniture, though I’m a big fan of mostly turn of the century mission-style furniture created by Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as those bronze lamps with stained-glass shades by Louis Comfort Tiffany. However, their prices, if one could find one up for sale, are too prohibitive for common folks like me. The most prominent collector of such items that I know of is the infinitely rich film director Steven Spielberg.

When I first saw this Underwood typewriter at the thrift shop, I was immediately reminded of the Remington typewriter that my father bought refurbished in one of the office supply shops in Binondo when I was young. He urged all my older siblings to learn how to use it. Our eldest sister, Fraulein, made it fun by holding contests on weekends — who could type the fastest with the least errors and without looking at the keyboard. Eventually, once they were done or whenever no one was using it, I would also learn how to use it on my own, though I never learned to do so as properly as they did.

Unlike today when every kid knows how to use a keyboard due to the advent of personal computers, during my youth, not too many young people knew how to type; giving rise to the thriving typing service outfits in and around the university belt. My typing skill, though no more than 35 words per minute at its fastest, served me well. When I started looking for a job to help defray my living and schooling expenses in New York, I was often offered a job as a clerk because I knew how to type; sparing myself the boring menial jobs available to working students. My brothers who learned to touch-type received even higher starting salaries.

The reason I had this Underwood typewriter sent to Manila was to someday donate it to a local thrift shop, the way its owner before me had done. However, I am yet to stumble upon a single thrift shop in Manila, but I’ve a feeling one might soon open. Incidentally, Housing Works, like all thrift shops in New York, is a non-profit organization which allocates its earnings to AIDS research organizations. The other thrift shops in New York benefit the poor, terminally-ill children, fire victims, and various medical research endeavors. Those who give items to these shops receive a tax-deductible receipt for their donations; whereas, those who buy from these shops are able to acquire some good buys at rock bottom prices.

I wish there were indeed similar establishments here in Manila to benefit calamity victims such as those in Bicol whose homes and livelihood were totally devastated by the typhoon Reming. But then again, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:10 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi eric,

it\'s good that you can still blog not like me still waiting for restoration of internet links damaged by the taiwan quake.

I can\'t access blogger, gmail and yahoo for 3 days now. I can access sites thru a slow proxy but can\'t (and won\'t) log on.

maybe next year. In my experience, submarine cable breaks last for a week
or more

Happy holidays!


December 29, 2006 10:44 AM  

Blogger Iskoo said...

ito din ba yung typewritter na nasa blogger profile mo?

nakakatuwang balikan ang nakaraan, dati pahirapang bumili ng typewritter, ngayon 2 singko nalang ang computer (exagg), hehe..

happy new year eric. more pictures to come

December 29, 2006 12:52 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Oh, I can still feel my fingers numb after typing in one. After all these tech gadgets, I miss those old, reliable things. I remember changing the ribbon!

It's good to donate that for a good cause. Perhaps someone may read your post and recommend later. :)

December 29, 2006 3:22 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

As of now I am still using dial-up through PLDT. And though slow, I guess PLDT has the clout to get their services going sooner than other telecommunication service companies affected by the earthquake.

I hope you get your full service soon, Tito.

Happy New Year!

December 29, 2006 6:17 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It is the same exact one, Iskoo! :)

Oo nga ... dati pagkamahal-mahal ng mga computer at ng mga parts nito, ngayon eh, pagkamura-mura na.

Happy New Year din!

December 29, 2006 6:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've always been in awe of tose people who could comfortably and swiftly use the old typewriters, Ipanema. They were so good and rarely made meistakes like I did. Remember those bottles of white out or something?

I was hoping someone would read this and be inspired to open a thrift shop here in Manila. It would be nice, don't you think?

December 29, 2006 6:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it would be really nice if there were more charitable organizations there who could help out the poor and needy.

Oh, I also brought my typewriter when I came here. I also learned how to type in one of those mechanical typewriters. I enrolled at JOBS Secretarial school there in C. M. Recto Avenue that summer after I graduated from high school. I didn't know that Typing would also be included in my Accounting course when I went to college that June. So na-doble pa. Then, when I also tried to get into computer courses here in Canada, pre-requisite din ang typing so I had to take Typing once again (two times actually) to get into the courses I wanted. That's why my classmates were always surprised when I type fast. :)

December 29, 2006 10:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I see...

I acquired my own typewriter as part of a promotional package from an international organization. It has served me very very well from grade 6 to fourth year high school. Imagine, I was still using a typwriter as the year 2000 kicked in, so as I was typing this very long paper I kept remarking to myself that it was already the new millennium yet here I was still using a low-tech typewriter. I'm also a slow typist, and had my fingers bloodied whenever they get stuck between the keys. Oh well, once I got the hang of the word processor, no more bloody fingers for me.

I think there's not much difference in terms of connection among the telecom services here. Just remember that we had worse in the aftermath of Milenyo.

December 29, 2006 11:24 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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