31 May 2021

Happy (?) Memorial Day

 31 May 2021 - Memorial Day

         Today is memorial day. Why do people say “Happy Memorial Day!”? I never understood that. It really isn’t meant to be a happy day. It was intended to be a day of remembrance to those who lost their lives in service to their country.

        America, being the ever capitalist country that it is, has managed to take just about every holiday they can imagine and turn it into a three day weekend that can be used to spawn an excuse to spend the money we work too hard for on stuff and things. Why don’t we say “Happy blow all your money on shit you don’t need day!”? Wouldn’t that make more sense?


         We had to make sure that none of our colleagues noticed us sneaking the typewriters and transistor radios into the park this morning. Surely they would think we were a bunch of hipster geeks and ridicule us for our semi luddite affections.

        The world is moving at a pace that is difficult, if not impossible to keep up with. Technology advances at  light speed and what is the newest thing is old hat and obsolete by morning. One day my friends, Pam, Sue and John and I decided over coffee that we wanted to get away from all that. We brainstormed for a while and found that we all had fond memories of the things we used in our high school, college and early lives.

        Typewriters were the first thing to come to our minds. We all recalled sitting down and writing letters, term papers and the like without the aid of computers or worse, the internet. Back then distractions were reminders from our parents to get our homework done, or a roommate asking the odd favor like writing their term paper. Those writings were usually done in a corner, with or without a proper desk as we listened to the latest pop tunes from an AM transistor radio. Not streaming media, but transmitted sound via radio waves. No artificial intelligence software monitoring our every move and thought. The only thing to pull us away was an errand to do or a genuine emergency.

        The more we talked about it the more we wanted to recreate and live those days again. Pam got the idea that we should bring our typewriters to a predesignated place to set up and do some writing. We wanted some sense of our past so John said he would bring his old transistor radio that he got for Christmas back in 1967. It was small, maybe three inches tall with a single tiny speaker. He knew a station that played music from the 50s, 60s and 70s right along with some prerecorded ads from the time. It was pretty neat.

        We didn’t get all dressed up or anything. That would just be weird, but we did dress as we would then, comfortable and appropriate to the time and venue. That usually meant jeans and a simple shirt. Sometimes John and Sue would succumb to their own form of distractions from those bygone days and sneak off for a heavy necking session. Pam and I just hung out and wrote our papers and made comments now and then to break up the monotony. Usually about the tune playing followed with a “that reminds me of” comment.

        Sure we got stares when we were at the coffee shop or outside a restaurant at a sidewalk table. We didn’t care. We didn’t care then, why should we now? The best part was on Friday nights when we would meet at the local brew pup and bring along our papers and that transistor radio. We discovered that in a booth we could turn it down low so only we could hear it. Then we would take turns reading the pages we liked best from previous outings. We shared comments and criticisms. Mostly we had a really good time. There were no discussions of religion or politics. No comparisons of stuff we had or coveted. Just good old fashioned talk, laughter and the occasion necking session. 


  1. Seems you had a very enjoyable time. Nothing like a small typing social event.

    I'm hoping Type-Ins can be held this summer. Sometimes I get strange looks when I spur-of-the-moment type in a public place. Then it usually moves the inquisitive person taking the typewriter on a bit of test typing.

  2. So this ritual is something that you had been doing with your friends before the pandemic began and you just picked it up again when you gathered in the park on Memorial Day to type?