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FRANKLIN, TENN. On my way to the O’More Designer’s Show House opening reception this week, I stopped in to browse at the wonderful shops in downtown Franklin just off the square. There’s an Anthropologie on Main known for its clever design display, and, of course, White’s Mercantile is a feast of practical artifacts amidst a setting of tin ceilings and transom windows. I encourage you to go too, and take in the designer showcase along with it’s context of a vibrant walkable downtown.
A simple chalkboard sign along the sidewalk caught my attention, even with the Anthropologie window’s wow factor. Written in a flourish by hand, the blackboard read, “Always send a thank you note.” I read that twice, the second time hearing it in my mother’s voice. Increasingly we realize that anything made or offered by hand has value, a certain mindfulness of intention, and so, Rock Paper Scissors pulled me from the sidewalk through the glass doors with its simplicity.
Any writer develops a fondness for paper from an early age, and I was curious to see what I might find. As expected of a stationary store, there were beautiful paper products of all kinds, with foil alphabets announcing weddings, the pink satin threaded through a baby’s welcome to the world.
Immediately, however, my eye spied a particular bright yellow typewriter as if it were a yellow jacket and I might get stung. The black keys and rollers set off by the yellow of a cast iron frame sat there at the front of the room on display like a museum piece. I’ve never seen one like it.
Maybe it’s that famous photograph of Elvis holding a portable typewriter on his lap on a train, or the image of Bob Dylan hammering out lyrics on his keys in a hotel room, but for whatever reason, typewriters still have cachet. They are highly collectible in our world of screens, and not only by us writer types.
For one thing, typewriters are pretty sophisticated, yet easily understandable, machines. Such mechanics seem to capture our imagination in a world of behind-the-scenes electronic code. There’s also something almost musical about a typewriter, from the bell at the margin’s finish line to the clickety-clack rhythm. They are like a piano; they are percussion. Ok, I’m obsessed, admittedly.
All this is to say, Franklin’s lovely Rock Paper Scissors has some exquisite typewriters for sale. I don’t expect that they will be there long. They were priced reasonably. The word “pristine” comes to mind. That bright yellow model is named aptly Triumph and was made in Holland during the 1970s. But forget about purchasing that pink Royal at the counter; it is NOT for sale and I asked. Seems it was a romantic gift to the store’s owner from her husband. Now that’s cachet.
Luring customers further into the store, even those of us without the need to announce a baby, a bride, or a graduation, was a 1958 Hermes 3000 from Switzerland. It sat more demurely in its pale green frame, but is no less desirable with its lima-bean green vintage keys. Typewriter collectors, you get this. So if you are collecting, stop in Franklin and tell the owner of Rock Paper Scissors that Nashville Interiors sent you their way. Maybe we will get a typed thank you card, which this editor would love.
Oh, and about that musical quality of typewriters I mentioned, here’s that idea taken to a wonderful level: Enjoy this symphonic performance on the typewriter. Yes, the typewriter. The featured composition is actually rather famous in certain circles, and titled simply, “The Typewriter.” First performed in 1950 by American Leroy Anderson for the Boston Pops concerts, it was recorded in 1952 by Decca Records and used by the BBC and other news stations to sign off at the end of a lighthearted story. It’s been performed in Music City, and around the world. As we like to say at Nashville Interiors, ‘we had to share.’