Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Typing 10


In high school, amid the myriad choices, there was one class everyone was expected to take.
None of us could understand why.
It was a useless class.
What on earth would we ever need it for?
It's not like it had any practical applications.
Yep. Typing 10.
The colossal waste of time.
But we were, if nothing else, dutiful.
Daily, we would report to our teacher.
Then scurry to get the best machine.
I should explain, here, that the machines we used were all elderly 'Olivetti Underwoods'.
Non-electronic.
Totally manual.
Capable of jamming if any two keys approached the action zone at the same time.
Heavy.
And able to take whatever abuse we chose to mete out.
And, believe me, that was Abuse with a capital 'A'.
One friend would systematically pound on her machine for every mistake she made.
It was quite entertaining.
And made the typing of the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog not quite so mundane.
And repetitive.
We were taken through exercises designed to improve our accuracy.
Our speed.
And our ability to type while looking anywhere other than our keyboard.
None of which were my forte.
Our teacher would stand at the front of the room with her trusty little stopwatch.
And holler 'Go!”
Dozens of keys would begin clicking.
Okay, another thing I should mention is that manual typewriters, at least the ones we used, were noisy.
All of us typing together would constitute what could only be considered a 'din'.
With the sound of my friend periodically rising above as she stopped to punch her machine. “Stupid, useless . . .!”
“Stop.”
Hands in our laps.
Then we would roll out our paper and check for mistakes.
This is where I always came to grief.
Well, one of the places.
I could type fast.
I just didn't ever hit the right keys.
Of all the kids in the class, I probably scored the worst.
Oddly enough, I'm the only one who now makes her living . . . typing.
The irony is just sickening.

7 comments:

  1. Ah but now we type on the forgiving computer where you can backspace and delete, cut and paste etc......still.....I miss those old typewriters and the smell of them...remember the well oiled smell of them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had completely forgotten the oily smell! And the ribbons, which left black inky marks all over if you ever had to do anything with them.

      Delete
  2. I wasn't a bad typist, but never considered it an essential skill if I produced decent work. I was a big fan of White Out and correcting tape when it came out, and so darn good at using them that one boss had to hold his letters against a window to see if there were corrections. The crumb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh for some white-out when I was in Typing 10. With your skill, I might have even passed . . .

      Delete
  3. I went all the way through Typing 30 and sometimes wondered why. But with the repair business and having to type service reports, warranty claims and requests for special considerations to companies like GM and John Deere, it all came in handy. Of course it definitely helped when I wrote Lottery (all 800 pages of it). And my manuscript was written on my Olivetti Underwood Five mechanical typewriter that I will get bronzed if I ever see some success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You went all the way through? Amazing!
      I look forward to seeing that typewriter bronzed, because it WILL happen. I believe in you!

      Delete
  4. Well Diane, thank you for that great laugh you just gave me... oh, I remember those old manual typewriters, I am so grateful for what we have now... my fingers love me now:)

    ReplyDelete

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