Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trash to Treasure, part 2

As continued from here

What is that!?! It looked like some heavy piece of old machinery. I thought - what the heck is it? On closer inspection I found a date “1903.” Wow! This is old! The label read: Odell Typewriter. My mom had some old stuff in our home that she called… ‘antiques’ She loved them and would talk about how much money they were worth. This is old, it must be an antique! It’s got to be worth a lot! But how can I get this home with out my dad seeing it! To him all this stuff is junk and if he sees it, he'd make me toss it into the dump truck with the other heavy boxes.

Aagh! My mind started to race a thousand miles an hour. The other boxes! What could be in them… some are already in the truck and doomed for the dump! What’s in all the remaining boxes in the garage, more old priceless antiques? Then it struck me, there’s only one place Dad won’t see this old typewriter and that is behind the bench seat of our pickup truck. So I quickly took the typewriter out of the box, tilted the bench forward and carefully stashed it behind the seat. I tossed my sweatshirt on top of it, just in case, and pushed the bench seat back in place.

My heart was pounding so hard that I thought they might hear it! It's not stealing, I mean it's just junk, right? It would've just been thrown away like the others. Why am I so nervous? I glanced up trying to look natural. The deed was done!

No one saw me so I casually walked into the garage to get another box. I happened to pick one that was really heavy… I thought, this must be worth more then the last one. Repeating my plan, I hid on the far side of the truck and opened my second box. Another old typewriter! This one was made of solid brass - no wonder it was so heavy. I couldn’t throw it away, but I couldn’t let my Dad know either. Okay behind the seat you go!

When it was all over and we got home, dad hit the shower and I brought in the first typewriter to show my mother and two older sisters my treasure. I went back three more times for a total of four ancient typewriters saved – that was all I could fit behind the truck seat.

I had seen dozens more - each one unique and fascinating - as I opened up the boxes and checked out the others that I'd carried out to the dump truck, choosing what I thought were the four best. As I recounted the story, my sister’s boyfriend came to our house and got in on the last half of the story. He was so excited about the find that he offered to take me and my sister to the dump and try to find the other old typewriters. We went to the dump with high hopes and dreams of finding the big cache, but it was like walking around the massive government warehouse in the final scene of Raider’s of the Lost Ark only this was outside at the dump in a sea of junk. It was hopeless, the typewriters must have long since been buried.

I gave my mom and each of my two sisters a typewriter and kept the first one I saw, the 1903 Odell, for myself. I was a hero for many weeks as my family showed off their new antiques to all of their friends. I stood in the background playing with my model airplane toys and listened to them talk about how insightful I was (being only 12) to recognize they were such valuable treasures and then take great lengths to save them.

Here's a picture of my 1903 Odell typewriter, it now resides in a museum in India.


Heffalump said...

My heart breaks thinking about all of those other typewriters that got wasted! Ah the agony!

Anonymous said...


Glad you saved four.

Too bad you didn't have a cell phone to call your mom and get her to intercede.

How did your typewriter end up in a museum in India?

Bree Biesinger Despain said...

Wow! That's a great story. I'm so sad you weren't able to save more.

I also want to know how your type writer ended up in India.

Scribbit said...

Not trash at all--you're SO LUCKY! What a cool, cool find!

Millie said...

Wow. You WERE an insightful 12-year-old.

I'd love to know how that 1903 Odell typewriter works. What a treasure.

b. said...

This was an AWESOME story! (although I didn't like waiting for the end)

What a find! What did your Dad think?

Tebbs Family said...

Yo Dude. Did you make this story up? Talk to me. Is there a story on how it ended up in India. I must say that I enjoyed your story. You are definitely a good writer. Call me. John

Anonymous said...

True story! I was afraid readers might ask about India. Well the truth isn't so glamorous or romantic. I had grown emotionally detached from the cool looking beast of steel after lugging it around for 35 years of my life. Most of the time it was too big or did not fit into our decorating scheme to display in our home. So I decided it needed a new home and put it up on ebay (I know gasp! your thinking how could you do that?) I invested the money in two bulk candy machines and got teh kids started in their own business. Spielberg's has his machine in my SLC office and expanded by adding a honor box with candy bars in the break room. The girls have their machine in our AF office breakroom. They have a great time filling them and especially collecting and counting all the quarters!

When the India museum won I was glad it had a home were others could appreciate it instead if it being back in a box in my storage room. It sold for $300 which was a little above appraisal value.

As far as my Dad... know one can remember what his reaction was? He was very easy going at home. My only regret is that because it was an antique I never inked up the type-bar and tried it out. I did put in paper and everything worker perfectly - carriage return, line feed, even a little bell rang when you got to the end of a line! If you look closely at the right side of the type bar you will notice that there are several common words/strings such as 'at' 'the' and 'ing' to for ease of use (clever designer). I'm glad you all enjoyed the story! Thanks for commenting!

Mr. O