'What a privilege it is': Tom Hanks sends letter to Saskatoon typewriter repairman


Category:  Other

Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  3 weeks ago  •  16 comments

By:   Josh Lynn

'What a privilege it is': Tom Hanks sends letter to Saskatoon typewriter repairman

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

'What a privilege it is': Tom Hanks sends letter to Saskatoon typewriter repairman


A photo shared on Facebook shows a letter from Tom hanks received by Thom Cholowski. (Facebook/Thom Cholowski)

SASKATOON -- A self-taught typewriter repair expert's efforts to keep the vanishing trade alive have captured the attention of one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Tom Hanks,  known to be a typewriter enthusiast himself,  sent a complimentary letter to Saskatoon's Thom Cholowski — which of course was typed.

"What a privilege it is to type a letter to western Canada's premier typewriter repairman," begins the letter addressed to Cholowski, written on Hanks' own letterhead.

Cholowski shared photos of the newly arrived letter on Facebook.

"This arrived in the mail today. Praise from Mr. Tom Hanks," Cholowski said in an Aug. 25 post.

"I’m honoured and speechless, what a class act."

"I know the next time or the first time I'm in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan I'll be darkening your door if only to smell the lubricant of a well-refurbished machine, no matter what the language, braille or Native-Canadian Cree," Hanks wrote to Cholowski.

The letter came in response to a thank-you note Cholowski typed out and sent to the movie star earlier this year.

"Tom Hanks has very much been the celebrity face of typewriters, something that he's always been passionate in," Cholowski told CTV News in an interview.

"Through Tom's advocacy, it's gone from being a nostalgic, old fashioned piece of technology to a point where people are taking a second look at these machines and they're really rediscovering the joy and beauty of these wonderful machines," Cholowski said.

"I thanked him for his work and I told him just about the impact of what he's done has had on my life, the positive impact."


(Facebook/Thom Cholowski)

While he wasn't expecting a response to his two-page letter, Cholowski said the fact the star took the time to answer confirmed what he had long suspected about Hanks.

"I came home and there's an envelope in my mailbox from Tom Hanks and I was honoured and I was humbled but I had to smile because it just reaffirmed my belief he's just a stand-up guy."

The letter also contained an offer of a typewriter from Hanks to add to Cholowski's collection.

"It will certainly be deeply appreciated and treasured, certainly not for sale," Cholowski said.


Thom Cholowski's typewriter repair services are in high demand. (Francois Biber/CTV Saskatoon)

Until now, Cholowski's passion for restoring typewriters to a close to "factory new " condition as possible — even models manufactured in the 1880s —  has been a part-time gig.

But thanks to Hanks encouraging words and the resulting attention, with media outlets calling from around the world, Cholowski is working to fully embrace his role as western Canada's "premier typewriter repairman."

"This has been the motivation that I needed to make the jump to do this full-time," Cholowski said.

"Who would have thought a little piece of paper could change somebody's life, right?"


jrDiscussion - desc
smarty_function_ntUser_is_admin: user_id parameter required
Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    3 weeks ago

In high school I learned how to touch-type on a regular typewriter, a skill that has remained with me all my life - all fingers on the keys and not needing to look at the keyboard.  I'll bet there are a lot of two-finger typists out there. 

Don't forget to open the linked article -  has been a part-time gig.

Paula Bartholomew
1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    3 weeks ago

There are a lot of one handed ones too, if you know what I mean.jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @1.1    3 weeks ago

One finger's okay if you've got a lot of time on your hands.

2  Kavika     3 weeks ago

I love this story. I'm sure that Mr. Cholowski is quite happy that Mr. Hanks sent him a personal note and the offer of a typewriter. 

Mr. Cholowski will now have more repair business than he can handle. 

Buzz of the Orient
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @2    3 weeks ago

I think he already did have more business than he can handle - he said he had a waiting list, but you're right in that he has now received world-wide publicity - great advertising at no cost to him. 

Paula Bartholomew
3  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

My family is notorious for lousy handwriting.  My mother started me out on an old portable of my grandfather's almost as soon as I learned to write.  By the time I hit high school, I was typing 90 wpm.  Even though I had to take typing in school, I turned it into a money maker.  Our grades were determined by how many times we could type the same page.  Typos were points off.  I could knock out the required for an A in a short time.  I would keep on doing additional pages and slip them to others for a quarter a page.  I raked in two to three dollars each class.  I eventually made enough money for a new saddle for my horse.

Buzz of the Orient
3.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @3    3 weeks ago

LOL. You became a businessperson at a very early age - selling your skill. 

In high school we were able to choose one of three options - woodworking, motor mechanics or commercial (typing and bookkeeping), and since I wasn't that interested in learning how to make a table, or be a gas station mechanic, I chose what turned out to be the most useful option for me.

Paula Bartholomew
3.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.1    3 weeks ago

That wasn't the only way I made money in HS.  My best friend was very skinny so her mother would pack her a double lunch.  She would give me half and I would pocket the lunch money my folks gave me.  But on fish stick Friday, I would buy lunch.

4  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

It's a cool story but I'm afraid typewriters are a thing of the past.  Their advantages over other means of putting words on paper are sort of imaginary.  They will be kept just as collector's items. 

Buzz of the Orient
4.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JohnRussell @4    3 weeks ago

Of course it would be a rare occasion that a person would need one - like being or living in an area where there is no electricity, and as you said there are collectors - Tom Hanks for example, and then Thom C. who is able to make a living with them.

Raven Wing
5  Raven Wing    3 weeks ago

My Mother had one of the first Remington Rand portable typewriters that was passed down from her Mother. And that is what I learned to type with. 


My Mother started teaching me to type when I was 8 years old. I am glad she did, as it would be a skill that come in handy over the years. It helped my to build up the strength in my fingers to type on the old typewriter, so I used it a lot over the years for that reason so I could keep my speed up.

Paula Bartholomew
5.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Raven Wing @5    3 weeks ago

My favorite was my mom's IBM Selectric II.  It had different type balls and you could get very creative with the choices.

Buzz of the Orient
5.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @5.1    3 weeks ago

The Selectric was electric.  The secretaries in my office used them until computers became the normal office tool.

5.2  Freefaller  replied to  Raven Wing @5    3 weeks ago
It helped my to build up the strength in my fingers to type on the old typewriter

Lol like you I learned on an old manual (an Olivetti Linea 98) and you're not wrong your finger muscles get ripped in short order.  In was a bit inconvenient when we switched to electrics as until you got used to the lighter touch requirement words like "the" ended up like "ttttttthhhhheeeee"

Buzz of the Orient
5.2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Freefaller @5.2    3 weeks ago

I have a weird finger problem.  The middle finger on my right hand has developed a kind of spasm and has a mind of its own.  What happens is that it automatically inserts an "i" into the occasional word I type.   Now and then the typo gets past me so once in a while you will spot one in my comments. 

5.2.2  Freefaller  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5.2.1    3 weeks ago

Lol no worries we all have those moments when our fingers get ahead of our brains


Who is online

48 visitors