Typewriter holds key to a family’s gratitude

No matter how bad 2017 has been, no matter how many of your heroes have fallen, remember this: We still have Tom Hanks. When he says “nice knobs,” he’s talking typewriters.

There’s nothing “America’s Dad” can’t do. The latest example, courtesy of the Boston Globe, is the return — get it, old-timers? — of the typewritten letter.

Sure, it’s just one family so far, but societal change has to start somewhere.

In Wellesley, Mass., Nick de Peyster, 51, sent Hanks a note after seeing the feature film, California Typewriter, in which Hanks is among those extolling the joy of the world of jammed keys.

De Peyster promised that if Hanks sent him a typewriter, his family would send out weekly typewritten notes.

That was four months ago. On Saturday, a typewriter arrived. A Tom Hanks autographed Olympia Red De Luxe typewriter with dark gray keys.

Hubba hubba, am I right?

A typed note from Hanks was included with reasons why the device should not go unused. “Your penmanship is illegible,” “You are just too thickheaded to figure out a computer,” and “The Communists are back in power.”

“I thought if I can persuade Tom Hanks to send us a typewriter then I could go to my kids and say, ‘You know if Tom Hanks can send you a typewriter then maybe you should write a thank-you note,’ ” de Peyster tells the Globe.

Nick’s wife, Julie, calls it “a Christmas miracle.”

The family feels the typewriter gives them a daily excuse for gratefulness. It also allows them permission to make mistakes and delight in the imperfection of the faded ink and misspellings.

“You exhaust all the obvious opportunities to thank people,” Nick de Peyster said. “Then what happens is you have to start looking for who’s doing something amazing. And you have to spend your day focused on what other people are doing rather than on yourself. That’s the key.”

They’ve started keeping a log.

Since Saturday, they’ve typed out 11 letters. Four are for Tom Hanks.

Most of the family has taken to the typewriter. The exception appears to be a Cornell freshman son who said the typewriter is “the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life.”