Sarasota man spreads joy through 'Typewriter Socials'

- Dennis Brock loves everything about typewriters - the looks, the sounds, the textures and the one-of-a-kind story behind each one.

"These things have so much character," he said.

His love and passion for the classic writing machines has blossomed into a collection of more than 300. He started with one nearly two years ago, after deciding to buy one off of eBay. It was a Royal Safari from the 1960s.

"That began my education, my learning curve on how to repair these things," he said.

Some need more repair work than others. Brock, an expert in the field of microscopes, is used to working with his hands.

"What I felt after some time is a connection to the machine," he said.

After collecting more typewriters and learning more about the machines, Brock started to think about the ways they could be used to benefit others. He and his wife Jennifer started bringing 10-15 typewriters to Sarasota retirement homes and friendship centers. A few minutes in, he knew he had a good idea, and the Typewriter Socials were born.

"The sounds were the sounds of thinking," he said. "When you hear the typing going on, that's creativity."

On a Wednesday afternoon in March, the Brock's brought their typewriters to the Sarasota Friendship Center. They met Sande Rogers, who was visiting from North Carolina and tagging along with family. She spent the 90 minutes jumping from typewriter to typewriter.

"It just brings back such wonderful memories," she said. "You remember things when you're typing that you didn't necessarily remember any other way."

It's thoughts like that that compel Brock to want to have more Typewriter Socials.

"I want them to use them in memory care," he said. "I would like to see every retirement home have typewriters in them. These people can then type their memoirs and take it with them. It will always be there."

Brock shared stories of people suffering from Alzheimer's lighting up and starting to communicate because of the typewriter. He hopes to see stroke victims try the machines. Brock says the typewriter has a soul, and he hopes that soul can help heal people.

"You get feedback." he said. "It talks to you."

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