Christmas Spice

Like caribou, our herd made the eastern migration this winter holiday.  Fortunately, there was no calving en route.

Slow-moving ruminants, we crossed the Great Plains with a special case:


I was nervous as we brought it through the TSA checkpoint.  I wasn’t sure what sort of hoops I might have to jump through.  It went through the x-ray machine with no raised eyebrows. I was weirdly disappointed that they did not even open the case.

On the airplane, the case fit perfectly under the seat in front of me.

We joined the rest of the herd in the eastern wintering grounds and grazed to fill our calorie-depleted bellies.


On Christmas morning, my mother-in-law (MIL) opened the case I had hauled cross country to find…beautiful Posh Spice, the 1938 Corona Sterling.


My MIL gave me a beautiful glass typewriter ornament from Poland.  It is a mythological creature, a cross between a Continental and a Royal with the magical powers of supernatural snappiness:


My MIL is a superb typist. She has been looking for a typewriter for light correspondence and envelopes and asked me my opinion of this typewriter.

I knew that I could find a better typewriter for her.


Frankly, I have never gotten along with Posh. She’s the Queen Bee in our house, and all the other junkers felt plain uncomfortable around her.

Please don’t think that gifting Posh Spice to my MIL means I don’t love my MIL.  It means I believe that my MIL will be the perfect wrangler for this typewriter.

My mother-in-law is 100% alpha – she can put Posh in her place. Posh will start with her tiresome, “My mother raised me to be admired…” routine and my MIL will silence her with one withering look and put her to work.

After gifting, we spent a busy day cooking a traditional Cuban Christmas dinner: roasted pork, black beans, rice, yucca, plantains, pineapple salad and flan.

A Christmas Memory

The next day, my MIL and I pulled out Posh Spice and typed out a post-mortem of the previous day’s food and activities, critically evaluating the menu and suggesting changes for next year’s dinner.


Small woodland creatures emerged to try their hand on Posh Spice:


My own mother enjoyed typing up documentation of her cooking experiments. She used a lovely narrative style in her recipes. Here are my mother’s tamale notes from 1983:


My mother did not stint on the lard in her tamales. Her tiny tamales were about the size of a fat cigar and absolutely delicious.  I may make a tribute tamale batch for family and friends to celebrate the new year.

Wishing all of you the very best in food and typing in 2016!

Posh Spice: Corona Sterling

I was sort of looking for a functional portable typewriter that I could refer to while I restored the Corona 4. When I work on my Oliver, I wish I had a second functional Oliver to which I could compare mechanisms in action.

I found this typewriter and she is not only functional – she is exquisitely pristine.


1938 Corona Sterling
Serial Number: 2A 39626

As Ron Burgundy would say, “Boy, that escalated quickly.” We now have a family of four typewriters – two nonfunctional.

Spice Girls (L to R): Posh Spice, Biggie Spice, Trampy Spice, Old Spice


Drink of Choice (L to R): dry martini, black coffee, whiskey neat and a cigarette, kerosene

My Corona Sterling is the Garbo of typewriters. She appears to have retired soon after she rolled off the factory assembly line. She must have spent most of her life in the seclusion of her case because she is remarkably well-preserved despite being 77 years old. There are some small nicks where the carriage return lever hit the cover plate, some decal fading, a few scratches, and some tape residue, but she really is in superb shape.

However. I don’t know if this Corona Sterling will stay long with us.  Frankly, she makes me a bit uncomfortable. I can’t touch her without feeling that I am somehow sullying her. My typewriter tastes lean toward the junky and broken – she is just too fine and clean for our house.

So she sits mute and beautiful in my living room – until you touch the keys and she whirs into life – like a ROBOT.

In any case, I need her for the time being so that I can examine her inside workings while I try to fix that Corona 4.