What are the chances?

What are the chances?

Hi there!

Thanks for joining me today. Go get a cuppa, and savour this one; it is special.

Serendipity. I love that word. You know, happy chance, uncanny coincidence. But the word is beautiful, isn’t it?

I’ve always had a passion for language. I love playing with words – you know that! I love calligraphy, fonts, poetry, books, papers. When you think about it, I suppose the transition from language school in Germany to Paper-Craft company in England isn’t that far-fetched, is it?

I have been searching for an old typewriter for a while now – not to write that book on, that book in my head which is simmering gently until the time is right, but to perhaps add design flare to mixed media and art projects.

Well, imagine my delight when I came home from TV on Monday afternoon to this:

I went from worn out to elated in a flash! What a beaut!!!!

Absolutely mint condition, too. Dave certainly knows me well. The most expensive diamond ring wouldn’t have hit the spot like this old thing!

Then look what he wrote….gulp.

Just 2 degrees of difference – that’s all it takes. I have been pondering that since I read it. 2 degrees….

But back to Serendipity! OLYMPIA on the front.

“Blimey!” I said to Dave, “my Mum worked at the Olympia Typewriter factory on the conveyor belt in Wilhelmshaven when she was pregnant with me ! ” I span the machine round and investigated.

Well blow me over with a feather!

“I wonder when this model was built” was the next logical step. So we took off the front panel and found a model number…

Dave googled De Luxe 7,6. And guess what? 1958. These typewriters were manufactured in Wilhelmshaven in 1957-1958. When was I born? March 1959. So Mum was actually working in the factory when this machine was built.

Who knows. Perhaps my Mum even had a hand in its construction. Maybe she helped build this very machine.

In my mind, I’ve decided she did.

I called her immediately to tell her about Dave’s incredible gift. And she proceeded to tell me all about the typewriters, about the carriage, about the time she made a mistake and had to dismantle 200 faulty carriages to get back to where she had put the wrong screw in. But she had to do it in her lunch hour and after shift. They just piled the 200 faulty carriages up on a table behind her, to correct. Took her over 2 months. Maybe this machine was one of them!

What a joy! A piece of family history has come home.

There you go. Serendipity.

Love & Hugs,



63 thoughts on “What are the chances?

  1. I use to use one of these typewriters when I started work in about 1965. Not sure if was an Olympia. The ribbons were awful to change. You used to end up with messy fingers. Enjoy. I think your Mam had a hand in making it and Dave was destined to get it for you xx Janet

  2. How absolutely wonderful! And I bet your mum did have a hand in it…. Things have a habit of coming full circle. And I do believe things happen for a reason. It’s testament to a well made item that it still works!!
    Enjoy your pottery class today.
    Love and hugs xxx

  3. What a thoughtful and wonderful gift from a thoughtful and wonderful man. I reckon he’s a keeper Barb!! How fantastic to think your mum worked on it too, cos I’m sure she must have done for it to find it’s way to you. Xxxx

  4. how fantastic – that this very machine found it’s way to you. If changing the ribbon is a bit of a monkey, I bet your Mum can help! Hope you got some lottery tickets too (since you are obviously on a ‘roll’).
    Maggie (Yorkite) – yes I’ve ordered me Leyburn tix (and a couple of sale things too – I’ve gone all art Nouveau this year)

  5. Hello Barbara – I love the way life works, things that happen are sometimes extraordinary. It’s not what you can see, it’s what you can’t. Dave was meant to find that typewriter. How, is one of life’s mysteries, a set of circumstances that all come together in one moment of time. Wonderful. Enjoy your gift. Lots of love Donna X

  6. Wow what an amazingly thoughtful gift. He’s definitely a keeper! I remember working on one of these in my teens. Hard work on the wrists, so we were all really pleased to swap to electric ones. x

  7. Dave is definitely a keeper if he can surprise you so well – so many men haven’t a clue!!!
    Back in the day typing wasn’t part of my job but I was a whizz on a hand cranked calculator. Only got into typing with computers.
    It will be fascinating to see what ideas you come up with on this machine, maybe even start this book?
    Have a good pottery class.

  8. What a fantastic man he is, but you knew that. He is always so lovely at NEC show! Hope to see you in Nov if not before x

  9. What an absolutely wonderful story and so personal. I am so happy for you. As for that bloke Dave, he’s a keeper lol xx
    P.s. have you seen the film ‘Serendipity’? It’s one of my faves xxx

  10. Amazing how things work out. It is meant to be!
    I remember learning to type on a machine, not dissimilar to this one, but can’t remember the make. There is a satisfaction on making a word appear on a piece of paper that you don’t get from computers!

  11. Love it ! I taught myself to type on an old Remington my mum brought home from work as they were throwing it out. I spent hours and hours copying stuff from books, then I went on to do a shorthand and typing course and just before we moved on to election, as a junior at work, I got the manual Olympia! Brings back great memories . What a lovely thing to have and even to be linked back to your mum and her memories too ! Enjoy! X

  12. What a wonderful story. I learnt to type in the very early 60’s on a similar sort of machine. I think it was either an Imperial or a Remington. Hard work compared to the light as a feather computer keyboards we use today. I remember typing to music to help get an even touch! I’ve still got a portable Olympia my parents bought me in 1962. I don’t use it but it’s as good as new and I wouldn’t part with it for the world. Enjoy your “new toy”. Makes a nice feature in your home too. Xx

  13. Wow how amazing going to be treasured as Dave is treasured, bet he is thrilled finding this out. For your mum like going down memory lane fantastic. This world is such a small place at times xxx

  14. Wow! That’s such a spooky story! It’s given me goose bumps! Well done Dave, what a lovely surprise! – Enjoy every minute of it Barbara! X

  15. What a wonderful gift. I too learnt to type on one of these machines, to music too, asdf :lkj no looking at the keys girls, you will never pick up speed that way. Oh how it all comes back to me. My dear dad only ever suggested I learnt 2 things, how to type and how to drive, most useful two things I ever learnt. Thanks dad.

  16. Well, I remember these very well. When I started work about 1969/70 I used these manual typewriters, with the odd electric and golf ball machine in between, but I always felt more at home on a manual, and even in the 90s when I worked for a smallish firm they still had manual machines. What a coincidence that it was made where your Mum worked and about the same time. I think this is definitely a keeper Barbara. x

  17. Thanks for the warning….I think I now have a speck of dust or something in my eye, hayfever p’raps🤔
    *wipes a happy tear away*
    Love all things nostalgic….irons, sewing machines, watering cans, suitcases, cameras……
    This week we watched The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
    (to receive £5 voucher from Amazon😜) where the typewriter took centre stage. Loved it.🥔📖

  18. I love this. It really was meant to be! More precious than anything! Live the thought that Dave has put into this knowing what it would mean to you. Then the connection with your Ma! I also learnt how to type on one of these and had the dreaded cover so you couldn’t see the keys! Enjoy!
    Lots of love xx

  19. Ooooo how amazing, sends tingles up the spine the way the universe drops things into place for us. What a treasure for you to keep – that’s Dave and the typewriter! Xx

    1. Sorry meant to say my CraftalongaBarbie kit arrived today along with the new ODS dies and they are all beautiful. Thank you. Xx

  20. What a lovely surprise for you – Dave is a real treasure isn’t he!! I learned to type to music (Ravels Bolero if I remember rightly) too only mine was a Remington Rand machine and the keys were blank so we could learn to touch type up to 80 words per minute. I changed to Golf Ball heads then on to electric and finally computers which was a whole different ball I wish I still had the machine my parents bought for me………

  21. Tom Hanks collects typewriters, was on the one show one night talking to a young girl about them and he told her would give one to her to write her stories.x

  22. Blimey! I was at college and learned to type on that self same model! Every Friday we had to take it apart and clean it all down with meths spirit and use a toothbrush on the type faces. They shone like new when we had done. Then the cover would be put on for the weekend.

    Really brought back memories there xx

  23. Oh what a perfectly beautiful gift.
    I cried as love things like this.
    I know it will be loved and enjoyed and that makes my heart happy too.
    Well done Dave, you are a brilliant gift giver and so glad you and Barbara have each other xxxx

  24. I learnt to touch type on one of those Olympia machines, makes your fingers tough after a while. Good luck with it .

  25. Thank you for sharing this story. It brought tears to my eyes. The memories and joy that this one little act of love brought is amazing 🙂

  26. It was meant to be. I used to have an old typewriter similar to that. Have fun and enjoy using something your mum might have helped make. xx

  27. Hi Barb,
    What a lovely man Dave is! How very thoughtful. Amazing to think that your Mum could have had a part in making it as well. I remember having a Brother and also an Olivetti which I used to produce worksheets for my classes. Had to use special sheets that had a carbon sheet with them and then they were run though a ” Banda” machine to produce the worksheets – you get almost get high off the smell of the Banda spirit! This was in the days before photocopying and computers! It was such a bind to correct if you made a mistake! I was so happy when computers arrived in schools – it was so much easier!! Love and hugs,Alison xxx

  28. Seeing the typewriter reminded me of my first job after leaving school and brought a smile to my face. When working at the solicitors in North London, you were not allowed to rub out mistakes on legal paper and tipex was not known about!!! I spent hours on an Olympia and imperial and when I had to retype whole documents due to one letter being wrong, the carriage was pushed very very hard to the right. Brought back memories Barbara. Enjoy, it’s a classic.

  29. What a wonderful story and a wonderful husband, but you obviously deserve each other!
    All these comments bring back so many memories for me, of my first jobs all those years ago. I bet your mum had a great trip down memory lane when she heard about your gift.
    I agree about it being better than diamonds – it is the thought that goes into something which means so much. Hugs. Annette X

  30. Hi Barbara

    I can remember learning to type on one of these typewriters and if we looked at the keys we got “rapped on the knuckles” with a ruler. We soon learnt to touch-type!

  31. What a very thoughtful gift. Your tale of serendipity got me thinking and I can carry it on further (on a personal trail of recollection of course).
    I was born on 14th March 1958 so maybe your Mum was working on that typewriter as I was entering the world. Between 1973 and 83 I lived in Crowborough and my Dad was MD of a company in Jarvis Brook. I remember him bringing an old Olympia typewriter home for Mum to use, but I spent many a happy hour typing on that machine.
    I went on to train as a German bilingual secretary and am still employed in the City as a PA. To top it off my best friend is Heidi who comes to the shows and Open Days with me.
    Serendipity indeed. It’s funny how something as simple as a typewriter can start a train of memories. Thank you for this one.

  32. Wow what a lovely gift. Took me back to my secretarial course at school, working on the same model taking my typing exams think they were called RSA plus Pitmans shorthand! Using carbon paper to make copies of my Boss’s letters. Those were the days……

  33. Barb, I think I was in tears reading this. Dave is a beautiful soul, a loving man, and makes me think of my lovely man, who is so different to those in the past. For someone to do this much research and looking to give such a special gift is someone to be treasured. Bless your cotton socks Dave, what a beautiful and loving gift for Barb, I bet the smile would have gone round her head if it was not for her ears! (and I don’t mean that badly). Bx

  34. What a beautiful story, and such a romantic and thoughtful gift! A happy coincidence that you were there with your mum when it was made – that gave me goosebumps.

  35. It brought back memories to me as well, I worked in an office, and a man would come round and clean all our typewriters with Methylated Spirit, what a joy! We were about sixteen and it made us very happy….wonderful smell!

  36. What a wonderful gift, Barbara. You certainly picked a “good’n” when you chose Dave. How strange the typewriter should have such close connection to your mum. Life is so strange some times. x

  37. Dave is amazing thoughtful true love thank you for sharing.
    I use to make imperial typewriters before it closed down in 1975 lovely memories xxx
    Crafting hugs to all on the blog xxx

  38. Hi Barbara
    How wonderful, I know what you mean about preferring to receive a gift that is important to you rather than a diamond ring!! My husband once bought me a wheelie bin and I was thrilled.
    Your gift is somewhat more special though having that wonderful piece of history and family attachment linked to it.
    Well done Dave, cracking find!!!
    Love & Hugs

  39. Wow, what an extraordinary story, serendipity indeed. Brought back so many memories for me too, after leaving school going to day release at college learning typing and shorthand. Yes I used an Olympia also an Imperial up until the electric machines took over. How super of Dave and so thoughtful too. Enjoy it all Barb. You too were made for each other.xxx

  40. An incredible story. I learnt to touch type in 6th form on one of these. Bash bash bash. I could go at quite a speed. Imagine my excitement in my first job when my typewriter was an electric typewriter with all the keys on a golf ball that whizzed around. All pre-computer keyboard of course! Enjoy your new present. Dave is a very special man. Love and hugs Jeanette xx

  41. What a great gift. I too had the same model, but long gone. It served me very well.
    I hope that it will give you much inspiration(not that you need much more).
    Looking forwards to seeing what you come up with
    Blessing to all at Clarity HI.

  42. My Dad was a typewriter engineer/mechanic and spent his working life going from company to company in London and the South East mending and maintaining those wonderful machines, Imperial, Olivetti, and his favourite, the Adler from West Germany. It did mean an occasional trip for him to Nuremberg for special training courses once a year, which of course he loved. When a typist wanted to change a standard typewriter letter to one with an umlaut or accent, it was Dad’s job to weld on the adapted typeface to the right key. That was his field of expertise which he was jolly proud about! We had a continuous flow of neighbours and friends at home who’d call in on the off chance that Dad could mend their home machine or portable for them. (He always did, and for nothing). Although Dad passed away some years ago now, an occasional whiff of meths takes me straight back to an image of him working away at one end of the dining table, equipped with a bottle of meths and an old pair of pants or a vest, cleaning all those little keys. Mum would have the sewing machine out at the other end of the table making garments for one or other of the family. You wonder why I like to craft? Resistance was futile as the saying goes. I was only glad that he retired just as the daisy wheel and early electric typewriters were introduced. I think he may have struggled with all that new fangled technology!! So, thanks everyone for the memories. You’ve given me some real smiles today xx

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