The other night at the bookstore in a young family strolled

and it didn’t take but a minute for them to make me feel old.


We have an antique typewriter in the store…

(the kind that makes a clicking sound and ends with that familiar ‘ding’)

which the young girl took one look at it and asked:

“Dad, what is this thing?”


Her dad explained how it was a typewriter.

He said, “People used to write letters on these

but that was long before you were born

back in the ‘70s.”


All of a sudden it was like in some time warp I was caught

I swear I aged 10 years that moment…right there…on the spot.


Then before I could compose myself…and my old age feelings allay

Her mom found a book on the Beatles and the daughter asked…”Who are they?”


I had a moment to reflect on how time is a funny thing

for imprinted on each generation are memories to which we cling…


Things that were important to us…important to who we are

are unknown to future generations…or even seem bizarre.


But we must never forget the past if humanity is to survive

which means it’s up to us, the older ones, to keep those memories alive.


This is a burden we must accept…a responsibility we can’t shirk

so I walked over to the typewriter and said, “Let me show you how this works.”


I loaded a sheet of paper…my typing was crisp and clean…

I quickly typed: The Beatles were the best band the world has ever seen!


Then I left the girl to type on her own

(Hopefully this is a memory to which she’ll cling)

“Daddy, I’m typing!” She said with a smile. 

“Listen, you can hear the ding?”


With a Beatles CD playing in the background she asked

“Mommy I love this typewriter can you buy me one?”

and though they did not purchase a single book…


I knew my work, that night, was done.

View joy's Full Portfolio