I have talked about my grandparents quite a bit here. I know why... They were definitely influential parts of my childhood. I loved them very much and they are still missed in my thoughts. Much like my mother, my grandparents were incredibly strong individuals and they taught me much in the way of independence.
Many hours spent in imagination-play at my grandmother's was peppered with naps, snacks and plenty of ice cream. But the most influential thing about her was a very simple concept. I was allowed to play with almost anything I found interesting. My Nana was just very patient that way - Or maybe the old adage is true, "They just don't make things like they used to!" She simply wasn't afraid I would break the stuff I played with.
I was always especially intrigued with an old typewriter that sat in the upstairs hallway. When I say old, I mean the old manual driven typewriters with a silk, ink-drenched ribbon that left my fingers black more often than not. I loved sliding a piece of typewriter paper into the roller platen and hearing the click-click as it seated into it's place. I would spend hours playing secretary, picking up the hallway phone that was mounted upstairs, taking phone messages and sitting at a rather rickety roller table that I had perched my "office" upon. I would type until my little finger tips ached from the effort of making the keys hit hard enough to impress the ink upon the page. When I tired of playing office, I would move to magazines and simply practice typing (without looking, of course) as the pages of the National Geographic made its way through the magic of that manual machine. I always thought it would be wonderfully romantic to be a secretary with a real reason to sit at a typewriter and tap-tap-tap out my duties...
Many years later, I did land a job as a secretary... Not so glamorous, and I was definitely required to use a computer keyboard, not a typewriter. I moved from one keyboard to another during my stint in the public workforce. I always remembered the love I had for those keys and their clackity-clack that gave me so much confidence.
I love writing, I think, because I was allowed to play at it for long summer days and was never afraid to work with the tools of the trade. Looking back, I am so very glad I got to bruise my fingers playing at the work I now enjoy so much.