There's a corner shop in Cincinnati's Northside adorned with a Shepard Fairey mural.
Through the drizzle you can make out a mysterious sign: Urban Legend Institute.
In the window: typewriters for sale.
And inside: a young man typing on a roll worthy of Jack Kerouac.
Today was the official opening of the Urban Legend Institute, the shop that will help to support WordPlay. No less exciting, it was a celebration honoring WordPlay director Libby Hunter, who was named the first ever Cincinnati Volunteer Citizen of the Year.
Libby (tallest person in my blurry photograph) is an indefatigable dynamo who has created a welcoming, positive, thought-provoking place for kids, and has brought together an amazing number of people and institutions to make the community better. WordPlay has provided tutoring to over 300 kids since it opened just a few months ago. There were many touching tributes to Libby's leadership.
One of the Urban Legend Institute's signature offerings is typewriters. Here are a few that I've rounded up and gotten ready for sale. (The Halda now has an owner's manual, thanks to Rob Bowker.)
I'm also offering typewriter service.
Even before the ULI opened, I had some customers; I've cleaned and fixed up a Remington Rand 17, an Olympia SM7, and a Holland-made Royal Quiet DeLuxe. (I heard tonight that in the household that owns the SM7 and the Royal, there was delighted squealing when a girl accidentally discovered that her typewriter could type in red. She and two others like to lie on the floor and type side by side.) The profits go to WordPlay and the fun goes to me. What could be better? Running a little typewriter shop has long been this collector's dream.
When I started blogging by typewriter, I felt that my hobby was coming into its own.
When I completed NaNoWriMo by typewriter, I thought that my hobby had found fulfillment.
But helping others find their way to self-expression through typewriters makes a typewriter guy's life complete.