Good companion

I left university with nothing in front of me. No job. Just time.

But, as I had (Great) Uncle Charlie’s Imperial typewriter, I decided to learn to type. I bought a book and painstakingly covered the keys to learn to touch-type.

I don’t remember how I ended up with it. He was my paternal grandma’s youngest brother. She adored him.

When she was 80, my parents gave her a birthday party. What made her day was that Uncle Charlie was there. The rest of the day was irrelevant.

He bought her a gold brooch with an inset pearl for her 80th. As with the typewriter, I inherited that too.

Uncle Charlie started in journalism a hundred years ago, more or less. He worked for the local newspaper. He was also a stringer for national papers. While my grandparents were living in rented accommodation, one in council housing, the other (his sister) in a tiny one down, two up, outside toilet, terraced house, Uncle Charlie managed to buy a modest semi-detached for himself and Auntie May.

Luckily their house backed onto the local rugby ground. He didn’t have to go far to report on the matches.

By the time I had grown up, he was just covering sport and stringing for the nationals, mostly the Daily Telegraph.

My cousin, some 17 years older than me, also worked in newspapers on the advertising side for the Yorkshire Post. Later she moved to London to work in PR for a fashion firm.

On my mother’s side, my Uncle Bill got a job on the local paper as a cub reporter, but left to join the RAF where he hoped to be able to play more sport, rather than reporting on it.

Nepotism? No. I wish. Every one of us got our jobs on our own merits. All the more interesting though. Three generations, all working in journalism for the same company, and yet no connections or influence in choosing or gaining those jobs.

Imperial was a British firm based in Leicester although it was founded by an American-Spanish engineer, Hidalgo Moya, in 1908.

Portable typewriters were introduced by Imperial in 1932, and mine probably dates from the early 1940s. It’s a Good Companion Model T. (Lots of photos of old typewriters on that link)

The Leicester plant was closed in 1974.

All my typewriter needs is a new set of ribbons. Now, if only my computers would last for 70+ years …

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