I used this graphic yesterday for a post. On those days when I don’t have an appropriate graphic, or when I’m just thinking out loud sometimes it seems better to signal that with a typewriter than a graphic that people will think actually relates to the post.
But in this case there is a back story about the graphic. That Royal manual is just like the one on which I learned how to type. It was the Summer between 6th and 7th grade and my mom decided I should learn how to type.
That decision might have been taken because sonny-boy’s penmanship was so horrible. The idea was always more important to me than what it looked like on paper so I scribbled in a script that was difficult even for me to decipher at times. And, it was the first summer that summer school was available to me. She just thought it was a good idea, and it got me out of the house for a few hours every day. Considering that the school the classes were offered at was a couple miles from home, that also assured her I’d get some exercise that summer. Whether I walked or took my bike I have no idea. But I do know that I was not chauffeured.
I hated those lessons!
I hated them with a passion.
And to make things even odder, our typewriter (at home) was kept in a sort of flip top convertible typewriter desk similar to this one. <–. When you opened the top the typewriter rose up from it’s hiding spot to be used, and later hidden back away out of sight. It was a cludgy way of doing things and of course the flat surface where you were supposed to put your copy to be typed was on the wrong side of the the desk to be used by a lefty — yours truly.
I continued to hate typing all the way through Jr. High and High School.If I’m totally honest, I never liked typing until I was working at which point the idea that I could write my reports as rapidly as I could think became a sudden lightbulb over the head moment.
At some point I actually went out and bought a used IBM Selectric typewriter. I got a deal on it at the time. I bet I paid less for it than what you’d have to pay for one nowadays when the product is discontinued and has achieve something of antique status. I loved that Selectric! Those were the typewriters with the interchangeable type balls. For the first time in human history you could change the type face of a letter in about 15 seconds using the same machine. Pop out one ball, pop in another and you went from script to courier10. Voila!
To be truthful though — I never used the typewriter for love letters. And I wrote a bunch of those. Some things demand the personal touch of pen and ink.
I can’t look at a typewriter without thinking about that third floor school room, and the hot summer mornings. No perfume on the teacher. The kids smelled like kids. There were no smartphone or iPads. And her timer — to time our daily proficiency tests — was nothing more fancy than a good old fashioned kitchen timer the likes of which you can still buy in the kitchen equipment store.
Yeah — I hated those lessons. But today as I sit beyond my 2013 build MacBook Pro I’m thankful everyday that someone thought I needed typing lessons. I hate that my fingers are too fat and too familiar with a full sized keyboard to be any good with the keyboard on my iPhone. My daughter can type out a text message with two fingers like lightning. And my fat fingers have a hard time not making typing mistakes on those small keyboards. Give me a full sized keyboard any day.
Yup… those six weeks of lessons taught my finger to fly. And with my fingers it gave flight to my imagination as well because my fingers were no longer struggling to keep up with thought patterns that had to stop while I laid down ink through a pen. Now my brain could charge on ahead with my fingers trotting happily along about 2 words behind. It was magic. It’s still magic. For me, it was the beginning of a new world.