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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TIME FOR CHRISTMAS


 

 

 
I started writing at an early age.  By the time I was fifteen I had a stack of novellas handwritten in textbooks.  Christmas was coming and what I wanted most was a typewriter.  I put out hints to my parents and spent many hours daydreaming about my typewriter, imagining how it would change my life.  My dream was to becoming a newspaper journalist.  I went to sleep at night imagining the sound of keys tapping out the 10,000 words of my next novel.  If only I had a typewriter: one with a bell that clanged when you threw the platen across, keys that smacked in the rhythm of the words I would write, and a ribbon that printed in both black or red.

 
Imagine my deep disappointment when Christmas morning came and there was no typewriter among the presents, just a small, rectangular gift-wrapped box from Mom and Dad.  Inside was a gold wristwatch with an expandable wrist band and dainty oval face.  Mom saw I was disappointed. “It’s a very expensive watch,” she said. “We found it at a pawnshop.  Although it isn’t new, it’s almost like new and it’s the best make of watch there is.”

 
My parents didn’t realize how much I hated watches, the dreaded symbol of the ‘curfew’ imposed on us teenage kids, a restriction on my adventurous spirit. Now I’d have no excuse for being late. I’d turn into the White Rabbit, always looking at my watch to see what time it was!

 
I felt guilty for being so ungrateful and my Christmas day was spoiled...until later I went up to my room and there on my table was an Underwood typewriter, exactly the kind that my writer-hero Ernest Hemingway used.

 
I’m a published writer now.  I have a computer, and the keyboard doesn’t make that exciting loud clacking sound like the old Underwood did, but it still produces a gentle click to the rhythm of the words I type.  And in my jewellery box, I have a gold watch with an expandable wristband and dainty oval face, one almost exactly like the watch my parents gave me that Christmas so many years ago. Except this wristwatch is one that belonged to my mother.  Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of her, and of that Christmas.

 

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