I was very excited to collect this 1950’s vintage typewriter last week, after much research and the circumstances of fate it now proudly sits on my workspace and I’m absolutely thrilled with it!
It’s an Optima Elite 3 brown/khaki model and is in excellent condition, I haven’t had to do anything to it, it’s just as it came to me other than the addition of the purple ribbon which I couldn’t resist.
I’d been looking around and on eBay for a while and missed out on a few bids. A couple of weeks ago I met up with my friend of nearly 40 years, Ruth. Although we no longer live locally to each other, we originally met as neighbours, we meet every month or so for coffee and lunch. Our children grew up together and we share a lifetime of memories.
I mentioned that I was bidding on a typewriter on eBay and missed out on this bid the day we met but this sparked a conversation about a typewriter Ruth thought her husband Kevin still had in his office. She then gave him a call and he very kindly sent photo’s over, it looked perfect and just what I was after. Once home Ruth tested it our for me and we then arranged to meet for me to collect it.
It had the added advantage for me in that it came with a lovely history, which exactly what I wanted.
It originally belonged to a lady called Eileen who’s husband, Peter, who been a Navy Submariner and passed away when he was about 88. He used the typewriter regularly for their home accounts and book keeping.
Around four years ago Ruth befriended Eileen who was then aged 92, although extremely independent and still living in her own home she was in need of extra support and assistance as you might expect at that age. Over the next four years Ruth and Eileen became great friends and Ruth would frequently update me on their stories and friendship. Eileen was an amazing lady who had impeccable and expensive taste and was very particular with her everyday dress and daily routine, nothing but the best would do! She always wore her jewellery!
Eileen had had a variety of jobs throughout her life including working at Lyons’ Corner House.
This bought back memories for me as it was somewhere my mum use to take me as a child when we had days out together in London. Eileen and her husband also worked as housekeeper and caretaker/groundsman at a house owned by very wealthy professionals.
Sadly Eileen developed breast cancer and passed away in Oct 2018 aged 96, with no family around except a niece, Ruth helped Eileen make plans and arrangements for her care and funeral. This would come about by conversations they had and notes Ruth made about Eileen’s requests, likes and dislikes. Ruth kept Eileen’s paperwork, cleaning and housekeeping in order and it was during that time that that Eileen said she didn’t want the typewriter anymore and told Ruth to do with it as she saw fit.
It actually ended up in Ruths husband Kevin’s office as a bit of a practical joke on a colleague, he joked that it was an updated computer system! It then got left in it’s lovely case on a shelf in the office until the day I had the conversation with Ruth and then collected it about a week later.
I’ve given Ruth a donation to cancer research in Eileen’s memory and will treasure this vintage possession and the memories it holds.
What will I use it for?…
As a crafter I will find all sorts of uses for it, the first being to add little typed messages to my cards, like this one using Samantha K’s first stamp set, Wild Nature which I’m totally in love with.
Eileen was one amazing lady and as the quote reads, her soul is now a flower blossoming in nature…