Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

It was 1959.

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
madamesilverspurs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:51 PM
Original message
It was 1959.
The green "thing" squatted on the desk in front of me. Momentarily mute, like its identical cousins on identical desks that filled the classroom, it waited for the instructor to begin the lesson. The "thing" was, really and truly, the size of a breadbox. It seemed to weigh at least fifty pounds, and I had little doubt that it could take me down if it didn't like how I treated it. It was hot in that room, even with the windows open. And I really wasn't happy that Mom had decided that my summer vacation would be utterly squandered if I failed to become acquainted with this beast. Ugly thing it was. It had a single arm, kind of silvery, and its drab green skin held a black tattoo of its name -- Remington. "Go ahead," it seemed to taunt. "Push my buttons, see what happens."

Well, those buttons didn't exactly push. They needed pounding. And pound we did. Every morning, for all but two weeks of summer, we pounded away, most of us resenting every sweating clickety-click. And after a precious few days of summertime play it was time to start the new school year. And Dad brought home a square black suitcase, and inside was a home-version of the thing; this one was black and shiny and we were told that we'd need to take turns using it, at which point my brother snorted and left the room.

A scant five years later I used that thing to type my first term paper, with no erasures, properly footnoted, on bond paper with the watermark centered and upright, taking care to have the carboned side of the copy paper facing away from me. And in college I used it to type papers for football players whose fingers were just too big to hit only one key at a time. I used it to make the forms I needed for my first small business. And decades later, after Dad's first stroke, Mom asked me to use it to type up their living wills; to be sure, it would have been easier to go to their library and use a computer for that task, but it was worth the somewhat wistful look on Mom's face as one of her kids sat, once again, at the kitchen table to type. Dad's been gone for a few years now. And I suspect that we'll one day find that machine tucked away among Mom's possessions.

For all that I resented that "lost" seventh-grade summer, that green thing eventually took me to some interesting places and introduced me to some extraordinary people. Its great-great-grandchildren help to keep me in touch with my family and friends and co-workers, and allow me to continue to explore and learn. With Mothers Day a week away, I think I'll go to the local thrift shop and ask my friends there to take my picture with one of the monstrous green things. And I'll run that picture through my photoshop and send it with the caption "Thanks, Mom!"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Delightful story that only a few of us may be able to appreciate.
I teach "keyboarding" now, but I began on one of the green monsters, too. :fistbump:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Started on one of those also - took two years.
I still take meeting notes in shorthand. Comes in handy - no one else can read my notes so I can make what some might consider inappropriate observations. I don't even lock them away.

Its a long story but his typing skills kept my Dad stateside throughout WWII and my brother out of Vietnam for his four year service period.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. I've still got my squat thing,
Mine is mainly grey with green keys, and it's named Royal. I learned on it fifteen years after you did, sophomore in high school. After going at it for six weeks on a manual, I just ran away with my fingers on those old chunky Selectrics.

Ah yes, carbon paper, correction fluid, erasers, ribbons, some of the things that I don't miss about typewriters. But darn it, I still want a bell to ring at the end of a typed line.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. lol! That should be an option with sounds - a new line ding.nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AwakeAtLast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
21. I learned on a Selectric in 1985.
Our high school received their new computers the next year.

I can still feel the buttons under my fingers. :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Control-Z Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. I learned on a correcting Selectric
(same as you, I believe) My problem was the amount of correction tape I ran through. It was so bad I started buying my own tape, to replace what I used at school, so my teacher wouldn't find out.

Thank gawd for computers. Now I just use Control-Z. A lot.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #21
33. In1977 we were still using these.. I LOVED it.. ( I worked for a very cheap bank)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
3. Anyone who has learned to type on one of those old Remingtons has my respect.
"They needed pounding" is the perfect way to describe it.

These typewriters were phasing out by the time I took my first typing course, so I feel like I missed out a little learning on an IBM Selectric.

I love your story -- beautifully written!

:toast:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:15 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wonderfully written.
And we have two of then old manuals..the Olivetti and the big black thing..IBM, I think.
I used it all thru college ( 1972-79) and most of work, until 1995.
In fact, we have even older word processers laying around...have to sharpen them occasionally.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. That's about the time I took typing in high school, too. I was the ONLY guy in the class.
I've NEVER regretted learning to type. Term papers, reports, the whole shebang ... all the way through college.

:thumbsup:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
7. I have an old Smith/Corona
it was my father's that he had gotten from someone else, it still works. :-)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Glorfindel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. Oh, that brings back memories! I learned on a Royal with blank keys
It did you no good to look at the keys when you typed. Your eyes had to be on the wall chart. I loved it; took to typing like a duck to water, and to Gregg Shorthand, too. Those skills probably saved my life in the Army. There was a shortage of stenographers, and I was much better with a typewriter than with a rifle.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
spartan61 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I learned to type on one of those things too.
I took typing my 10th grade in high school and thought I was so smart because I had the only typewriter whose keys were NOT covered. I wasn't so smart afterall because those uncovered keys were magnets for my eyes. Even though I know where the keys are by touch, I still have that bad habit of looking down at the keys.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
10. I can still hear the voice of my typing teacher saying "Watch your book close."
I took typing in high school only because my mother convinced me I needed to know how to type in order to submit papers in college. I wasn't sure it was a good idea otherwise. I had read tons of feminist tomes from the early '70s in which one author after another wrote that she had been unfairly relegated to the typing pool when she went out looking for a job, and warned up-and-coming young women, "Don't let a prospective employer know that you can type. You'll be stuck in the typing pool forever."

How things have changed. Today, in our computer world, we expect kids to know how to use a keyboard, as a basic skill. If they can't, we worry the same way we once worried if they didn't show signs of being able to read or write.

I sure didn't see that coming. The only place I ever saw a computer in my high school years was when we made the annual field trip to the vocational school, so we could see what kids were studying there and decide whether we wanted to go there too. There were always a bunch of girls there studying "data processing." Their job concerned feeding punch cards into huge room-sized machines. The only time we dealt with these punch cards was when we were required to collect them to represent the courses for which we were registered and submit them so our computerized report cards could be issued. Oh, and they were great for stapling into a cone shape and one end and then stapling together in overlapping layers on a doughnut-shaped piece of cardboard that you would then spray-paint green or gold or silver and call it a Christmas wreath. Ah, the crafts we did with punch cards in the '70s...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
monmouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
11. Can I hear a kind word for the "Underwood"...Amen....n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tkmorris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:11 AM
Response to Original message
12. Beautiful post
Proud to give this the precious 5th rec. I still remember finding my families suitcase typewriter deep in my Mom's closet as a child, and the way the hammers would get stuck if tried to type too fast. Great post, you brought back some memories for me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
1776Forever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
13. Brought back memories for me of the Wang Word Processor in the 80's - anyone else remember that?
It was the predecessor to the PC. I was a whiz on it and my college teacher would play music that we could listen to in our head sets so we could concentrate more and it actually worked!

Check the price out in this article! Price cut from $6,400 from $7,500!!

Wang Cuts Prices On Word Processor
Published: June 17, 1981

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/06/17/business/wang-cuts-pr...

Wang Laboratories Inc., a computer concern based in Lowell, Mass., said it was reducing the price of its basic Wangwriter word processor by 15 percent, to $6,400 from $7,500.

In addition, Wang said it would give quantity discounts of 5 percent for three to nine units; 10 percent for 10 to 29 units; 15 percent for 30 to 99 units, and 20 percent for 100 or more units.

The company also said it planned a number of upgradings for the Wangwriter over the next six months. These include plans to add advanced text-editing features, the company said.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #13
24. We used those at work. They were cutting edge.
Then within a year IBM PCs came roaring in with a vengeance and, though we still used the Wangs, they were almost immediately obsolete.

There was a program that converted Wang documents so as to be compatible with the PC word processor software of the time. Don't remember what it's name was but we used it like crazy.

It around then that I got my first home PC. $3500 for like 64mg and that was a steal of a deal. :crazy:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
alterfurz Donating Member (723 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
31. I remember my wife's resume from those years...
...proclaiming her expertise in operating a Wang (ba-da-bum)!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:30 AM
Response to Original message
14. I took typing in summer school, 1965

Mom always said everyone should learn how to type. So as a 16 year old, I sat in a class with mainly future secretaries, typing away on those manual things. Then, I went off to college bringing a portable Royal and used it for typing term papers. I still have it to this day, a relic from the past, a 'toy' for my grandbabies.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
15. Used a Royal for years
One of the keys gradually drifted out of alignmet. By then, typewriters were a dying industry and getting it fixed wasn't really an economical option. I wrote thousands of pages on that thing. Every few weeks, I had to scrub the keys with a toothbrush to get good crisp copy, and about every six months it needed a new ribbon: those were both grimy operations
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:04 AM
Response to Original message
16. I took my first typing class in 1994 at age 51. I went to the first class
Edited on Sun May-03-09 08:06 AM by Obamanaut
wearing baggy sweat pants, the only comfortable thing I could find due to a hernia repair the day before.

The instructor asked me if I had any typing experience at all, showed her my two index fingers and she smiled and told me not to expect much success at my age and with the bad habits I had probably developed.

It angered me. We were using IBM Selectric (I think), and I did the the final with 55 cwpm. The instructor hugged me.

This was in a local community college.

I really enjoyed your post.

edited to add I still haven't mastered spell check
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
17. I still use a Hermes 3000 from '67 to type corresondence...no substitue for a personal letter
typed just for the recipient.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
19. The first time I was able to 'delete' a spelling error I felt like I was God Herself!
To be able to correct a mistake without having to start all over or use different colored white-out for the multi-layered, multi-colored carbon copies that bureaucracies require was the most liberating sensation on the planet.

I too remember learning to type as a tedious and miserable task and feeling how unnatural it was. I sure don't regret it either.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
cwydro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
20. I remember my first electric one.
It was like a dream.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AwakeAtLast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
22. And now typing is taught in elementary school
My district is not teaching typing past 6th grade. I guess if you need extra help you are supposed to do it online or through a computer disk. :shrug:

Great post, BTW. :hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
yowzayowzayowza Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
23. Only 'C' I got in HS.
Freakin typing class. Touch typing I can do, but those old IBMz req'd a sledgehammer. Got an 'A' on all the written stuff, but thru the entire semester I couldn't complete a single timed test w/o too many #%&@! errors. Just one and I'duv gotten a 'B'. Glad I took the class tho. Twuz very useful.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
25. Heh, it took me years to quit using the "l" key for number 1.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. And remember how you had to hit two spaces after a period?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Control-Z Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. That, I still do.
But it only registers as one on web pages, so it doesn't really matter most of the time for me. I guess I heard somewhere that the accepted norm is only one space now. I seldom type any documents that are not rendered through the browser so I haven't paid much attention.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
handmade34 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
26. very nice!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
konnichi wa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
30. Mine was named Underwood and its keys were anonymous. 1958.
One of the most valuable classes I ever had. :D
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 06:42 AM
Response to Original message
32. Even if the keyboard had never been invented, you can write.
Thanks for posting here!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 08:04 AM
Response to Original message
34. I took my first typing class in 8th grade.
We had a classroom full of manual typewriters; I don't remember the brand. 30 something of us in one room, all "pounding" away at the same time.

I took typing again in 9th & 10th grades, both at different schools, both using selectrics. I didn't like it or hate it; I saw it as an invaluable skill, so I made sure I had it.

Of course, I was raised by a single mom who made a living on a typewriter, including doing "extra" work transcribing for people at home after her day job was over. She could type 120 wpm on her selectric.

I never came that close; never typed faster than about 65 wpm. Still, my students are fascinated when they watch me type: "She goes too fast to follow her fingers, and she never looks at the keyboard!"

We don't have enough computers, or the software, to teach typing. I wish we did.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Thu Oct 23rd 2014, 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC