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June 11, 2015 / sharoncopy

My short history of typing

I read a facebook entry where someone was comparing what they said back in 2003 and onward about computer and phone usage, and I thought, “Ha! I can do better than that! Here’s my story of “Sharon the typist.”

1970: I am taking a night class at Cody High School to learn typing because my Mom wants me to know it and my high school doesn’t have a class. I’m the only kid in there, and the teacher smokes a cigar during class. We have big black manual typewriters. I hate typing because it makes my neck hurt. I think I scored about 25 wpm.
1971: Our high school finally got a Typing class, and the typewriters are a lot nicer (so are the people! Ruth Rhoades never smokes cigars – haha!) I think I’m up to 35 or 40 wpm but I still don’t think I want to be a secretary because typing makes my neck hurt too much. Still, at least I’ll be able to type my own papers now instead of asking Mom to do it. Making corrections is such a pain – wish I was more accurate. At least the erasable paper makes it a little easier although it’s sure difficult to position the paper exactly right.
1972: Grandma bought me a Brother electric typewriter! It does pica or elite and even has backspace-erase for up to 12 characters – that really helps. And I bought this great stuff called Correcto-type to cover mistakes. It takes me a couple of evenings to type a paper for my college classes.
1976-7: I might be crazy, but I offered to type all Dennis A Bratcher‘s papers for free during his senior year at DBC – mostly just so that I could have an excuse to stay in contact with him since I already graduated. I’m getting a little faster at it and don’t hate it too much. Got my first secretarial job – part time at WMUZ radio station typing the daily announcer’s log. We sure use a lot of white-out to make changes. I also learned to type on mimeograph forms at my church, and to make changes I have to take out the whole thing, use a paper clip to scrape each erroneous letter off of the back of the blue-inky form, then re-insert to the exact correct location and re-type the letters. It takes longer than the actual typing. Must learn to be more accurate! Also learned to run the mimeo machine. Ditto Masters are SO much easier to deal with! Those I can type on and run more easily but it’s harder to change errors.
1980: Saw a word processor today – it’s about 4′ tall and wide and imagine this – you can type into it and it figures out the centering and margins by itself – no more counting how many letters and backspacing. I wanted to try it but the owner preferred to just type up the Manna Highlights newsletter that I had written. She calls it “entering”.
1981-1986: Glad I can take in typing work from seminary students so that I can earn money while at home with the babies. My Brother typewriter still works pretty well, although a newer model would be nice – the IBM Selectrics have a choice of fonts, and they actually erase a whole line of type! I charge $1/page and clear about $4-5 an hour, depending on how many mistakes I have to fix. Tedious, but I make about $200 at the end of each semester. Told one guy I won’t type for him anymore – he writes in red ink, printed, half the size of a college-ruled notebook line. I had to pile 4 Encyclopedia Brittanicas on the desk and put his paper on top of them just to be able to read it. Also, found out from Dr. Gaffin that it is okay to make grammatical changes to Korean students’ papers – he said, “Please do!” It’s easier to type it right than to do it as they write it. But for full editing – I would need extra pay and they usually can’t afford it.
1993: First time I typed on a computer! We have one, but Dennis is the only one who uses it. He took a course in Desktop Publishing. Anyway, I have a part time office job and Patty showed me how to use the Mac – click here, type this, click here, type that, move that arrow-thingy (her words) over, click, type. This is cool! Oh, my, I don’t have to hit Return at the end of the line! Wow!
1995 on: Email! What a cool idea! Now Patty can ask the whole office at once if anyone wants anything from Taco Bell. I started emailing friends and relatives and having discussions on a group called Ref-Net. This helped us find places to stay when I took the kids to Campfire! in Ontario and connected me with Marian out in BC – we were e-pals for years as we each raised our 6 kids, and finally met after 5 years. Then came facebook, and now email took a backseat. I no longer check my mailbox at home hoping for personal mail.
2004: Took some computer classes with Amy Lynn at the library – learned PowerPoint, Excel and Word. They made us take the beginner’s class first, and when the teacher started with “This is a mouse” Amy gave me such a withering look! Haha. It drove her crazy that some of the elderly ladies couldn’t figure out how to double-click, so she asked if she could offer them help and they really appreciated it.
2005: Got two magazine articles accepted by Reformed Perspective magazine! Going to write a lot more! Woo-hoo, I’m an author! Don’t even have to mail submissions to them – just upload!
2013: For the first time, I set up a computer by myself (well, me and a few calls to the tech guys). Dennis and the guys have always done all this and I have felt clueless because I am a hands-on person and need to do it myself to understand what I am doing. Anyway, my new job as Publication Manager sent me several huge boxes with desktop computer, printer, camera, second HUGE monitor, etc. Honestly, so many black cords – like a pile of licorice! I color-coded labeled EVERY cord so that I would know which machine it came with (average 3 cords per machine). I set it up and when I needed to disconnect it, I knew how. Yay, me!
2015: Typing is like talking or breathing. It comes naturally as I interact on facebook every day. Long gone are the neck aches, although sometimes after 10-12 hours as an editor I had pretty tense shoulder and neck muscles. BTW, I type about 90 wpm now and my accuracy is greatly improved. Then again, my equipment is far better now too. 🙂 Facebook is my main connection to my kids/grandkids/old friends/new friends. As I wrote about a year ago:
   An hour on facebook is my emotional fix for the day.
   I am grieving with three friends who lost loved ones
   and are in need of God’s comfort.
   I am laughing at posts by my kids and friends and “auld acquaintances.”
   I am sharing a worthwhile article by any of the above to any of the above,
   and just as I was enriched, so are they.
   I’m connecting a bit of useful news or advice from one to another.   For now, I’m skipping the angry political rhetoric and nasty remarks.
   I’m sharing photos and life events, knowing that many who read them really care.
   It’s not an hour wasted.
It’s a stop at the old general store to pick up my mail
   and shoot the breeze with whoever stops in.

   Sharon Bratcher, 6.24.14

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