When my future husband graduated from high school, his parents gave him a manual typewriter.
If a fussy professor at our college demanded typed assignments, perhaps I’d ask to borrow his gift. I’d hunt and peck because I’d taken no typing classes. After all, I’d planned to major in music.
Unfortunately, I dropped out. My medical-school-student fiancé and I married when even fast-food jobs were scarce. No one paid singers, even if they knew 10 Italian songs and five German. Would the typing classes I’d taken at night help me find work?
Yes! We would eat.
However, I refused to sacrifice my lunch hour to type Hubby’s papers on my office’s Selectric. At home, the manual machine made me crazy.
He typed. In our one-room apartment. At night.
Clackety-clack … clack-clack-clackety-DING!
I buried my head in my pillow. Midnight came. One o’clock.
When I later worked at a medical center, my speed increased and I learned to spell words like “ecchymosis” and “telangiectasia.” Then I worked in a newspaper’s secretarial pool, where we typed obituaries and The Cow News (stockyard reports) on a word processor.
No paper, carbons or correction fluid — yay! No “ding,” and clacks morphed into taps.
When our children were born, I quit typing. Little fingers would have turned my attempts into Sanskrit.
A decade later, though, as a church choir director, I wrote newsletter articles. Despite rusty skills, my fingers navigated a computer.
Amazingly, I found myself writing newspaper and magazine articles.
Now, having published more than 800 short pieces and 27 books, I type much faster than I write. This longtime marriage of mind and fingers works. Will I follow current dictating trends and break them up?
Hubby uses dictation, though, murmuring a pleasant background as I work elsewhere. His late-night sessions remind me he’s there. I like that.
What if we had to use manual typewriters? Clackety-clack-DING! 10,000 times a day? My predawn inspirations would prove fatal. He’d never live to teach.
If either partner wants to wreak post-spat revenge, the cobwebby manual still resides in our garage.
No. Let’s leave that antique in the garage, where it belongs.
Besides, even for this antique pair, making up is much more fun.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What was your first typing device?