Eric's Heroes: The last of the real typewriter repairmen
Once there was a delightful man who did something for a very long time. And he did it very, very well.
His name was Bob Montgomery. He fixed typewriters for 85 years in a little upstairs shop in Bremerton.
And then the world changed and the digital age swallowed up everything. But Bob stubbornly held his ground, pushing back against the bully that is time. Still repairing Royals and Smith-Corona's and Underwoods.
Five years ago, when Bob was 92 years old, a younger man named Paul Lundy stopped by to look around.
"And I just came down on that Saturday and he just enthralled me. He was clearly a master craftsman," Paul said.
In 2018, Bob, the last bastion of a dying machine, fixed his final typewriter.
He passed away at 96.
But before that happened, he sold his shop to Paul and told him all of his typewriter repairing secrets.
"The great thing is Rob built all his own benches and they still work. They just work. You don't need to change things," Paul said.
The torch has been passed in a little upstairs shop in Bremerton. It's Paul at the bench now, breathing life into old relics.
"It is a dinosaur. I mean look what we are doing. We are working on machines that are sometimes 100 years old. They are a durable good, they are designed to be serviced and repaired time and time again, and they can be renewed and it's incredibly satisfying," Paul said.
For 30 years he was a facility manager, and then this cluttered little shop full of decrepit, dilapidated gadgets making rickety rackety sounds got into his blood.
Paul Lundy has found his place.
"Like this little guy is getting completely refurbished, and it'll be just sparkling new when we're done!"
A strange thing has happened at the Bremerton Office Machine Company.
Business is booming.
Kids are becoming fascinated by them, enthusiasts are embracing them like long lost friends.
People still ask about Bob Montgomery sometimes. There is a little shrine of sorts to him in the back room now. A couple of pictures, reminders of the dogged spirit that kept the place breathing through the demise and near extinction of the technology it services.
It's a throw-away world we live in. But it's comforting, isn't it, to know there is a place where things get fixed. Where old becomes new. Where people like Bob, and now Paul, push back against the bully that is time.