Sounding nostalgic: typewriters and fondly missed noises

Like the drrrr of the rotary phone and the winding advance of a camera with film, the clacky sound of a typewriter has become one of nostalgia for most of us. But for some reason “typewriters have become popular again in the past couple years,” says Ron Maupin, shown here in his downtown Grand Junction store, Haggle of Vendors.


Watch a video about nostalgic sounds at

Nostalgic sounds make it easy for the mind to travel to times past.

Vivid memories can resurface with the clacking of a vintage typewriter or the brrrring of an antique phone.

“Sounds, smell, touch, sensations are connected with the emotions of the experience,” said Edith Johnston, a counselor with “How To” Life Consultants LLC in Delta. “The sounds that we miss are connected with feelings and experiences that are positive and pleasant. Brings back memories of times enjoyed.”

And talking with others about the yearning for bygone sounds can help bring people together. “The only way to fight nostalgia is to listen to somebody else’s nostalgia,” wrote former New York Post journalist Pete Hamill wrote in his book, “Tabloid City: A Novel.”

For John Teyh, 65, the fondly missed sound is the whirring of an aluminum fishing boat he used in the 1960s.

“Those sounds reminded me of the times I went fishing in Oklahoma,” Teyh said.

For Elmer Spurger, 77, it’s the sound of an engine.

In days past, Spurger used the roaring sounds of his truck to relax after a long day’s work.

“In the 1990s, before Cummins diesel engines had to be quieted down, I would turn it on at night when I couldn’t sleep,” Spurger said. “The sound helped me unwind.”

The way music is played — radio, turntable, cassette, CDs — also has changed dramatically through the years.

“I have a turntable here (at my shop),” said Haggle of Vendors owner Ron Maupin, surrounded by the sounds of his favorite music, classical jazz. “We play records sometimes. That’s a little different sound than CDs and disks have.”

“Records were the only music source we had other than AM radio,” said 60-year-old Maupin, recalling another time. “FM radio started in the late ‘50s. But there for a long time, there weren’t a lot of FM stations around here. Used to be able to get some radio stations out of Oklahoma City in the valley here. That was about the only connection to the outside world here in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s.”

And for some, the sounds of now can be too jarring.

It’s actually the absence of sounds that Betty Bulla, 64, longs for. Peaceful quiet reminds the owner of Mama’s Treasures of simpler times when people read more often and gathered around a dinner table with family.

“When I was younger, there weren’t a lot of sounds,” Bulla said.


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