Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I was shocked when I pulled into a little heretofore-unexplored mall in Riverside and found a shop that specializes in "Sales, Service and Supplies" for typewriters. In driving by this mall Jer and I had noticed a cafe at one end that advertised its "GREAT BREAKFASTS" so it was in arriving there one morning at 7:30 to give the restaurant a try that we noticed this sign. I peeked in the window to ascertain that the grates were there for security purposes, not because the store had gone out of business. Yes, it is still in business. I can't imagine there would be enough traffic in typewriters to sustain even a smallish shop, but apparently there is.

Now a couple of years ago I had read a really interesting article that noted the New York Police Department in 2008 had signed a $432,900 contract for typewriter maintenance. New York? Police Department? Typewriters? Could it be true that in this day and age, with the average age of employees being young enough to have grown up with computers at their fingertips....could it be true that they still have working typewriters in use? Apparently so. In hunting down the article, I noted that one former police officer said something to the effect that the only place you'll see typewriters today is in museums and the New York Police Department.

With my first computer I bought a dot matrix printer and I needed a typewriter for typing envelopes. But many years later when I finally upgraded to my HP laser printer, I was able to shove my little electric typewriter out the door. Envelopes do just fine in laser printers! The last time I typed on a typewriter you'd have thought I'd never had a typing class in my life! Talk about bumbling!

I've been typing for a long time. The picture below is from my 1948 junior high school yearbook. I had to wait until 1950 to take a typing class, but this is exactly how the typing classes looked. We learned on great big clunkers that had no letters on the keys, forcing us to learn touch typing from the very beginning. In looking at that picture what stands out most, of course, is the brave young man in that room full of girls!

When I finally got to be a ninth-grader, my time came. In thinking back on that time in my life, out of elementary school and starting to make life-defining choices in various subject offerings, I remember my mother encouraging me to take three specific classes. The first was typing, the second was journalism and the third was chemistry. Obedient child that I was, I did take all three. I did well in two of them.

Typing obviously was a good choice.

So from 1950 to today - 60 years - I have typed almost every day for one reason or another. Knowing how to type certainly helped me in my journalism path (less so in chemistry, but then I'm afraid nothing would have helped me much there; it was not a class I should have taken!)

At this point in my life I'm counting on my daily typing pursuits to do the same thing for my finger joints, that is, keeping them limber, as using my mind daily in pursuits such as reading, researching, and indexing is to keeping my brain limber. But I actually do these things because for me they are great fun. I wish I could convince myself that getting up from the computer or the couch for a healthy walk was fun. But alas, it is not. Nor has it ever been. I am not showing you the report card from Phys Ed. Only from typing!

1 comment:

Olga said...

I took a typing class in night school because my mother insisted I have at least one employable skill. There were two of those new fangled machines--electric type writers. I love computers!!