Updated: Jul 20
Her pale blue skirt, wrapped around the outline of a shapely thigh. Thora banged on the black Remington typewriter. Turning her head to look at a document she smiled.
Watching the clicking typewriter, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could type like that.
During school holidays, my dad paid me ten rand a day to serve customers, a big sum of money for a little guy like me.
"I'm off for the day, bye", and the good looking typist walked out, I came in and began typing. This may be a paltry thing for most people, but for me, an act of courage.
Being a timid child, I worried, "ma will be cross" I never knew why things I did made her angry. "Hetty's a good sort" everybody said. A big woman, with an open laugh, always ready to joke. She slaved for us, forever worrying about our welfare. Her inexplicable attitude to me, a puzzle and it did me no good. I became hesitant in everything I did, for fear of angering someone.
I can't remember now what I typed, but proud to type a sentence. My mother, an excellent typist and bookkeeper, would soon be coming to the shop, to replace Thora for the day.
Ma walked into the office after completing my masterpiece. I didn't show it to her, she would be furious. Full of anxiety, I sat there, saying a silent prayer, sitting as stiff as a ramrod and silent as a mummy, I waited for my mother's explosion of fury.
The rest of the day I lived in fear and only in the evening, I began to relax, my folly undiscovered.
The next day I let out a sigh of relief. Thora didn't growl, "whose been at my typewriter" as Ma would. No guilt and no need for forgiveness.
I never forgot my dream of using a typewriter, however and many years later, when I decided to emigrate to Israel, I bought myself a beautiful, light blue colored, compact, portable typewriter.
Criticism always made me doubt anything I did. People often use criticism as a trick to undermine self confidence. We judge our actions by ourselves, not by others' criticism. We may reject their criticism, without becoming angry at them.
Doubting my ability because of criticism , like my mother's, cost me much happiness and success.
Guilt for angering my mother, gnawed at my soul. I beat my breast, in penitence, as Jews in synagogue on the day of Atonement. Punishing themselves, for sinning against God.
When I did a job well, and someone, like my wife criticizes me, my self confidence broke down and I became angry, which brought me to destroy the most loved object on hand, my beloved, baby blue typewriter.
In my anger I threw it out of the window, not looking where it fell, hearing the last clatter as its lovely letters scattered over the parking lot of our apartment in Jerusalem, silent forever more, never printing another word.