As the fourth season of Connecting Point winds down and I look back at some of the stories I’ve covered for CP over the past year, I’m amazed at the breadth and scope of the different people, places and ideas which abound in our neck of the woods. The subjects covered are as varied as you could imagine, but one commonality stands out, and that is passion. People ‘round these parts are very passionate about what they do: from making marinara sauce (like the folks at Windsor-based Ooma Tesoro’s) to repurposing old items for the 21st century (at LOOT: found + made in Turners Falls), people across Western New England have a habit of turning their interests into businesses, bolstering the local economy along the way, and creating a region where community and commerce can find perfect harmony.

We all have hobbies and interests. But what makes someone take the huge leap from having an idea or an interest to opening up their own business? Passion. And out of all of the wonderful people I’ve met this season, Mr. Robert Green of Amherst Typewriter may be one of the most passionate of them all.


WGBY’s Mark Langevin videotapes Robert Green of Amherst Typewriter at work

Since 1976, Mr. Green has serviced and restored the typewriters of the Valley and beyond from his humble store in Amherst. He told me how he found his calling as a young man after taking an aptitude test and entering a trade school… and he hasn’t looked back since. In a high-tech world of computers and smartphones and with clients ranging from the famous to the ordinary, Mr. Green works his old-school mechanical magic, treats everybody the same way, and tackles each project with boundless enthusiasm. Since 1976! He tells me he’s only missed 3 days of work in 40 years. Why? Passion. Greeting me with a warm smile and a firm handshake when I entered his business, he told me “it’s what I do, it keeps me young”. I can only hope that I have half of his energy and enthusiasm for life when I’m his age!

But how many people need or want a typewriter these days? You’d be surprised, just as I was when a young man happened to stopped by for a camera battery and fell in love with one of the many typewriters on display the day I was at the shop. He was a writer, and his eyes lit up as he cautiously tried one out for the first time. And Mr. Green’s eyes lit up as well, as he explained to the young man how it worked and why some writers still prefer this oft-perceived anachronism as a tool for creation, even in this age of computers and tablets. In a heartbeat and with the hammering of a few keys, it was all over. The young man walked in looking for one thing, and walked out with another. You know why? Of course you do, there’s no need for me to say it again…

We’re passionate too, at WGBY. Passionate about storytelling. Robert Green’s story is just one part of the rich and varied tapestry that makes up the places we call home. His story is one of thousands. And we’ll continue to do our best to tell them all, one story at a time.