Tom Hanks isn’t just a movie star, director, and published author; he's also a typewriter-obsessive. And this holiday season he decided to share that obsession with a family he'd never met. It all started when the de Peyster family of Wellesley, Mass., watched the new documentary California Typewriter, in which Hanks is just one of many luminaries talking up their affection for the old-school writing device. Inspired, the de Peyster family patriarch, Nick, wrote a letter to Hanks asking him for one of his typewriters, saying he had challenged his son, Rowan, to type one thank-you note a week, NBC reports. Three months later a package arrived from Hanks' production company, Playtone, complete with an Olympia typewriter and a letter.
In the letter, Hanks laid out the terms of the deal: The family has to type one letter a week and buy a typewriter for someone else, or else they have to send the gift back. Hanks also included a typed list titled, "Eleven Reasons to Use a Typewriter," Mass Live reports. Among the entries: "Your penmanship is illegible," "You are too thickheaded to figure out a computer," and "Typewriter = Chick Magnet." In Uncommon Type, his recently published collection of short stories, written on one of his more than 200 typewriters, Hanks manages to slip a mention of a typewriter into each story, NPR reports. "Short of carving words into stone with a hammer and chisel, not much is more permanent than a paragraph or a sentence or a love letter or a story typed on paper," Hanks says.