Make Black History Personal: #23 Our Royal Heritage

Did I mention that we have Royal heritage? Not the crown-wearing kind but Royal, as in the now-vintage typewriter that’s been used by three generations of our family already.

Our Royal was built in 1929, as I discovered when I looked up the serial number recently. My grandmother Hazel was the first in our family to learn how to type on the glass-covered black and gold keys.


The next generation who learned how to type was my mom. She took the Royal to college with her and later got a job as a teletype operator because of her excellent typing skills.


My sister and I were the 3rd generation of fingers in our family to learn the magic of the Royal keyboard. Now I couldn’t plunk out a recognizable tune on our piano keyboard to save my life. But on the Royal – I was a genius.

Of course, I owe it all to my 9th grade typing teacher and endless hours of typing this sentence over and over and over again –

Now is the time for all good men to come to their aid of their country.

I didn’t know until recently that this was a favorite typing drill because you can type the entire sentence, end with a period and be right at the point where you hit the return lever to start the same sentence again on the next line.


I don’t know if the manufacturer realized it at the time but the Royal was built to last a long tie. Try 85 years and counting! And you can’t tell from these photos but the Royal weighs a ton.


No one could have told me that I would end up transferring the skills I learned on our heavy metal Royal typewriter to a feather-weight of a computer I call “Mac”.

The Royal and the Mac.

But if you think we’ve retired our trusted old Royal – think again. It’s almost time for my 10-year-old niece to learn typing and the Royal offers a perfect learning environment free from distractions on the Internet.

So our Royal is dusted off once again and waiting for that brown typewriter ribbon we just got her. In a world where everything changes at lightening speed, it nice to know that our Royal heritage will continue for many years to come.


How can you make Black history personal in your family?

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