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My first type-in, in Philadelphia!

According to Wikipedia, “The first Type-In was held on December 18. 2010, in Philadelphia, at Bridgewater’s Pub in 30th Street Station.”

So it’s fitting that my first type-in was in Philadelphia! On November 18th I went to Legend of the Type-In at Cartesian Brewing, put on by Philly Typewriter.

I knew I wanted to go to this when I learned that our November trip back east would overlap and confirmed it was kid-friendly, but I wasn’t sure about logistics. Would I just bring Adam? He is my typewriter buddy, after all. Or would all of us come down? Should we invite some friends?

I did invite several folks and a local group I’ve been involved with, but in the end it did just end up being our own little nuclear family. MJ dropped Adam, Aaron, and I off at the entrance and then went to find parking (South Philly, oof!) while I wheeled the stroller in, along with my Olympia Traveller de Luxe. Side note: I’m so glad I had MJ bring the Olympia to Philly on his last visit! I don’t need a bunch of portables in California, and there was no way I was bringing my Remington KMC out for an adventure.

Right as we walked in, we were greeted by an Oliver #9. I don’t think it’s a particularly rare typewriter, but it is legendary due to the “batwing” design that makes it type unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I’d never tried one before. It was lovely and fascinating, and given how much I’ve thought about it since meeting that one, I’m quite certain that one will eventually enter my collection. The boys seemed to really like it too.

My first 15 minutes were spent repeating “be gentle” and “only one key at a time” over and over as the boys explored the typewriters on display.

When MJ arrived, he whisked Adam off to enjoy a few more typewriters, while Aaron stayed glued to me, as he has been doing lately.

It was also then that I also had the opportunity to set up my Olympia. Admittedly, shyness had prevented me from making it a priority and it had been sitting alone in the stroller, but MJ encouraged me to take it out, and the fact that everyone was kind and friendly helped me get there eventually. Please ignore that I was too anxious to type properly. Embrace the typo!

Once that was set up, Aaron settled on the Selectric II.

There were only a couple electrics there, but I think the familiarity with the near identical one I have at home, plus the ease of use, is what made him gravitate toward it. He happily inserted paper, typed, took the paper out, re-inserted it, and then typed some more. He was absolutely delighted by it, and it turns out I have quite the little typewriter artist!

Sadly, a type-in only has limited interest to a couple kids under 5. Plus, I couldn’t leave them unsupervised for even a moment, since these typewriters are owned by other people and I couldn’t risk them being misused or something knocked over. Aside from Aaron’s art, Adam typed his name on several and I dictated a few more letters to him, but I wasn’t able to do much myself. I also didn’t have any beer! But the weather was nice and I did pay the $15 entrance fee so I could walk out with a Philly Typewriter pint glass and a few stickers. I was able to have a few conversations with fellow typewriter lovers, so over all it was a lovely time for all of us.

Mid-event I left my typewriter behind and we did a quick side-quest to a small playground nearby where the boys had a lot of fun burning off some energy. On the way back I got a ridiculous cannoli and admired the tourist spots that are Pat’s and Geno’s.

As the event wrapped up and I returned to collect my typewriter as MJ got the kids back to the car, I had the pleasure of meeting Philly Typewriter founder Bryan Kravitz. Turns out, he lived in the bay area for quite some time, and was intimately familiar with the typewriter shop that Adam and I frequent, Berkeley Typewriter. It was nice to chat about his bay area time, and the shop we have in common.

I’m glad we all went, but I may have to think about how I’d want to do another one if the opportunity arises. It’s fun to pick up my Skyriter and sit on my own at an outdoor cafe as I let my mind wander on paper, but I imagine that having some like-minded company at a type-in where I actually type would be nice.