The Gratitude Typewriter

Our family’s collaborative poetry project

Ariel Meadow Stallings
6 min readFeb 29, 2024

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Our family’s gratitude typewriter

Five years ago, my outlaw mother called from Montana. (She prefers outlaw mother instead of ex-mother-in-law, and I’ve decided to roll with it.)

“I got Tavi a gift at an antique shop,” she said, referring to my son. “But my friend said most 4th graders wouldn’t be interested in this thing, so I wanted to check in with you before I give it to him… just to make sure you think he would actually want it.”

The gift, it turned out, was a vintage typewriter from a shop in rural Montana. A Royal Portable from the 1930s, the typewriter was a color known as crinoline blue.

“I know that he’s only 9, so maybe an old typewriter is an odd gift?” my outlaw mother said.

Although my now-teenaged son is currently into Taylor Swift and PacSun, five years ago he was deep in his iconoclastic preternaturally mature only child phase. Sure, he loved LEGO, but his secondary interests included interior design, vintage watches, and instrumental piano jazz. He wore only button-up shirts and cardigans. I worried at times that he’d spent too much time with my Boomer father and had skipped childhood, graduating from third grade straight into a geriatric snob era.

“Oh, he’ll love it,” I said.

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Ariel Meadow Stallings

I'm a product manager at Medium, but I'm also a whole-ass person living life: author, publisher, devotional dancer, Seattleite, mom, and just a human humanning.