Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Tuesday Thoughts About...

...typing. Remember when that was a class in high school? 

I actually learned to type during the summer between 8th and 9th grade. Since I was going to be on the "college" track at Rosary HS, my mom thought it was a good idea. Or maybe she just wanted me out of the house for several hours! Because--that's what it took! 

Roger (a neighborhood friend and maybe my boyfriend for a brief time) and I rode our bikes about 6 or 7 miles to Riverview High School every day for 6 weeks. I think the class was 2 hours long. We actually enjoyed it. And, I'll admit, it was a nice skill to have under my belt when I started my freshman year. It also came in handy years later when Butch was in college and came home late at night needing a paper typed for the next day. Many 1 a.m. nights back then!

Back in the old days, typewriters were primitive. By that, I mean that they were really hard to press. Either electric typewriters weren't out yet or we just didn't have one. Pounding away on that old thing was hard and a nail breaker--which you couldn't really have anyway if you wanted to type fast. 

if you made a mistake, there was no delete button. If you made a mistake, you only had two choices--use the little round eraser that had the brush on the end of it...
...believe it or not, I just found out you can still buy these! Why?? Option two was to start over. Even if you used the eraser method, getting it to line back up perfectly was always a challenge. I would usually have to start over anyway. 

By the 70s, there was this white, powdery tape thing that you would slip into the carriage (the roller thing where the paper was) after backspacing and then re-type your mistake. That would make it seemingly disappear. Then you backspaced again and typed the correct letter over the phantom mistake. And then, some lady in Texas (I think) invented "white out." It was white liquid in a little bottle with a nail polish-type brush. I'm not sure why that was better than the white tape because you had to let it dry before you could re-type, but apparently, that lady made a kazillion dollars. 

Then, there was the tricky part of knowing when you reached the end of a page. Go too far and you'd have irregular-looking margins. Not far enough and there'd be too much white at the bottom. The only time you needed that is if you had to add a "footnote." If you forgot or didn't plan enough space, then you had no choice but to start over. Believe me, there was nothing more discouraging than typing a whole page only to realize you didn't have enough space for the footnote!

I loved hearing the clacking of the keys, the little bell that sounded when you neared the end of the line--signaling that you only had 5 "types" (characters) left before it would automatically advance no further. Then the draw of the carriage--loved that sound too. There was so much more thinking involved with typing than there is today. There was definitely a more tactile experience with a "real" typewriter. Oh, and the fonts---each typewriter only had one--and maybe italics. Depending on the brand determined which font you got. I don't think they were even called fonts back then. Considering I'm a font "junkie" today--I have over 700!--I don't know how I got along with only one! Well, I guess it's because that's all I knew.

Many years ago--probably 20 or so, I was doing my scrapbook room in pink. 
My friends and I went to antique stores all the time. I bought just about anything in pink (see my cute old-fashioned telephone? Ahhh, but that's another story). See my pink typewriter nestled amongst my vintage clock collection?
She's a beaut. And, yes, I've actually used her a few times for journaling on a scrapbook page. But, oh, my. gosh! I had forgotten how darn heavy they were. Really heavy. I don't use it much but wouldn't get rid of it. I love the nod to the past and a reminder of my childhood.

Now, today, typing is a thing of days gone by. They no longer teach it. There used to be a class called "keyboarding" (I think) when my girls were younger. That's gone too. Now it's up to each person to learn on their own. What you're left with is the "hunt and peck" method. Butch is a good pecker! (Notice I said "is" not "has"!) And so fast! Hmmm, one of these days, we need to have a contest to see who is faster!!

There's probably not a day that goes by that I don't type at least 1000 words on my computer. I'm always up to something. I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic today.

1 comment:

  1. I often thing that the Pitmans Typing class that I took at school was probably the most used of my qualifications! Yes, you definitely needed strong fingers back then didn't you? In fact Paul just asked me to type up the minutes of a meeting he attended yesterday with his volunteer group. I got it done in 20 minutes, he would be here most of the afternoon! I remember Tippex too, our kids don't realise how easy they have with their delete and backspace keys ;-)


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