Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Which I Utterly Fail To Find Typewriters, But Still Have Fun

Nice day yesterday.  It was cold and windy, but beautiful clear weather.  I can deal.  So I set off on a bit of a ramble around Olympia, partly in search of typewriters.

The antique store wasn't open yet, so I stopped into our biggest local bookstore next door for awhile instead: Orca Books.  I picked up a new copy of CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters, as my last copy appears to have gone walkabout.  I probably gave it away to a friend or sibling and then promptly forgot, as I tend to do with favorite book titles.  I also picked up our most recent book club book (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon), looked at the blank books (oh, the pretty red Moleskines!) but refrained from buying any, and then came across these items, which I couldn't resist, even if the typewriter keys are erroneously lowercase and even if they missed an opportunity to display an Olympia.
By that point, the antique mall next door was open.  It's called Finders Keepers, and it's one of my favorite places in town.

In my experience, there tend to be two different types of antique stores: one type sells primarily very high-end furniture and glassware and paintings--you walk in and the place is nearly bare, and beautifully arranged.  Fun to look, but since I know I'm not likely to make a purchase in a place like that in my lifetime, I feel nervous being in those stores.

The other type of antique store is wonderfully cluttered and jumbled, and they sell all sorts of interesting old everyday things and things in fully-lived condition rather than just the valuable stuff.  There are old tins and kitchenware, vintage clothing, all sorts of bits and pieces and souvenirs, toys, name it.  Finders Keepers is most definitely this last type of antique store.  They sell items on commission for all sorts of different vendors, sectioned off in booths/cubicles throughout the store, and you just never know what you'll come across.

I usually see at least a few typewriters, though I've yet to purchase one here.  Often they've been out of my price range, sometimes I've come across them during a buying moratorium.  I only saw two on Saturday, neither of them quite worthy of taking home.

There was this electric Smith Corona--such a beautiful color!  Too bad it isn't a manual...

And this Underwood, tucked away on a bottom shelf.  It was $40, which I suppose isn't bad for an antique store find, but not exactly in superb condition.  I don't think it was functional.  They do look cool, though, don't they?

I also came across this old pencil sharpener!  In retrospect, I should have moved that tag so the crank was visible.  I'm not sure it actually works.  If I had a place to display such a thing, I would have been very tempted to take it home...but I don't,  so I didn't.

The best thing about this store, though, is the Book Nook.
Lots and lots of mostly old books: classics, poetry, old boys' adventure books, old mysteries, old cookbooks.  Even the oldest and most ornate are generally very reasonably priced.  I bought a copy of Brideshead Revisited, as my last copy, like Screwtape Letters, seems to have gone walkabout.

I did a little wandering around downtown Olympia looking for any other likely spots for typewriters, but the only other antique stores were 1) an antique store of the first sort and 2) a very tiny place that didn't open until one in the afternoon.  What's up with that?

No typewriter content in the next stage: I went to The Tea Lady, which I highly recommend to any visitors to Olympia.  If you like tea, or think you might like some tea, or if you're at all curious about tea is THE tea store to visit.

It's hard to even convey just how much tea they have here.  This is just one corner.

All of those bags and boxes are tea!  They also have a tea bar at the back where you can buy freshly brewed hot or iced tea, or try samples of a few varieties.  And they sell tea pots and mugs and electric kettles and various other kitchen gadgets.  I browsed awhile and then bought the Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice I'd gone in for (it's like atomic fireball candy in tea form, though they'd probably be appalled by my saying so...) and some coconut chocolate black tea (it's good!).

Aaand that's about it.  I went to two Goodwill stores, but didn't see so much as an electric typewriter, and then stopped by a Value Village since it's near the library where I was dropping off books, but they only had a 90s (?) Smith Corona electric, very banged up and dirty.  Still, a good day overall!


Ryan said...

Oh my- I was at Orca two weekends ago, and completely missed this button, which I would have also snapped up. Good find!

notagain said...

not to rub it in but Tacoma Goodwill was throwing them at me yesterday. two days earlier - not a sausage. Antares Parva and SCM script Pride Line just like I had before at one store and a late-model Hermes Rocket at another.

notagain said...

I got that Royal at the Rusty Rooster.

Little Flower Petals said...

You see that? You see that?? First he taunts me with the typewriters he's found in Tacoma, although every time *I've* stopped at a Goodwill there, I've found nary a one, and then he kicks me while I'm down by telling me at which of my local stores he found my favorite of his typers. I call that cold.

The Rusty Roostery was the story that doesn't open until one on Saturdays, so I didn't stop in. It's other hours are equally odd, but I'll have to make an effort to stop by. Maybe I'll get lucky!

notagain said...

If it helps I envy you the pin! I would have snapped it up too.

Strikethru said...

Thanks for the virtual tour, I am supremely lame and have never been to Olympia, despite having lived in Seattle since 1999. That settles it: I visit this spring. Should we have a type-in there?

notagain said...

I was going to suggest the same thing - after the Tacoma one, of course.

Mike Speegle said...

Bah. The best typewriters available in Vegas stores are blasted plastic-body SC's.

Ooh...tea. My french press has been in heavy rotation this week. Fun fact: Yerba tea tastes like tobacco.

Also: tell me what you think of Shadow of the Wind! I very much enjoyed it. Zafon has a real way of making you understand a character's longing. That being said, skip The Angel's Game. Not his best work.

Adwoa said...

That is not very nice, Peter. If it helps, LFP - I have watched mouth agape his many lovely finds too; sure, Geneva is no slacker in spitting out typewriters, but the ultra-portable ones I crave are apparently thousands of miles away in Tacoma.

When I have an off week, I just forget about typewriters for a week or two and go on hiatus from flea markets and thrift stores entirely. Then, about three weeks later when I venture out, I start seeing them again. Doesn't always work though... never mind. It's completely random! But still, I find visiting the same place every week doesn't help; I like to "leave the field fallow" for some time before returning.

Anonymous said...

I am becoming more and more intrigued with Olympia. I've now been told about Orca Books a couple of times by different people (I think Ryan was one of them). Those sound like some cool stores to visiit.

Peter - That's just cold, man, COLD. :)

Strikethru - If you think that's bad...I went there last summer for the first time and I have lived near Woodinville or Snohomish since I was born! Ouch.

Little Flower Petals said...

Last night I dreamed I went back to Goodwill, and they didn't just have *a* typewriter, they had two whole *aisles*: one for standards and one for portables. Also they had a great coffee shop and were organizing an open mic. Dream Goodwills ROCK. know, I think you're right about yerba mate. It's definitely an acquired taste, but I drink it all the same...kinda grows on you.

I believe I qualify as the lamest of the Pacific Northwestern explorers. I've been here just about five years now (which seems unreal!) and have been to Seattle exactly once. That's pretty pathetic.

It would be fun to have a type-in down this way! I do worry, though, because I have a fraction of the organizational/promotional skillz of the Snohomishwriter family, that fraction being something like 1/10000th. But at the least, we could do something informal! *may* have an acquisition announcement later this week, despite yesterday's fail. You'll be the first to know...

Ryan said...

Olympia is a good option. Orca might have the space, and I have a friend who knows the owners of Burial Grounds coffee which would also be a cool venue. Getting there on Sundays on the bus is not very easy, other days better.

Duffy Moon said...

Love the photo travelogue.

Shopgoodwill always has a bunch of Pacific NW machines.
I haven't been typewriter hunting recently; I see I need to put on the pith helmet and get back at it.

I know 'Screwtape' is pretty much Lewis' most read book (non-Narnian book, that is) but it seems to be the ONE that I just can't finish. And I've tried several times. Don't know what it is about that book.