Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Those were the days...

by Donna Mac Means

An article recently sent me down a nostalgic path. Thought you might enjoy taking a stroll with me.

It appears vintage typewriters are making
a comeback. "Type-ins" are being held at bars and bookstores with speed and accuracy contests - or just to type out an old fashioned snail mail personal letter (remember those?)

Now I'm a real fan of computer word processing. I can't imagine writing a novel without that fabulous cut and paste option - or the ability to search. I'm a real fan of "find and replace." But I understand the charm of vintage typewriters. I grew up with them, after all.

My mother was a secretary like many young women in the early 1940s. And like many of those women, she was asked to leave her position when she married. That skill though, to
read copy and process with the pounding of mechanical keys, never left. It must have been ingrained on the system like muscle memory. One never loses the ability to ride a bike or type on a keyboard, apparently.

One of my earliest memories is the sound of my mother hammering away on an old black Royal - a typewriter must like the one in that picture. My father, employed as a manager with
Paper, had made a detailed study of printing presses and put all that knowledge into a manuscript. After we kids had been sent up to bed, my mother would haul out the old black Royal and hammer away, translating my father's handwriting into printed pages. There's a rhythm in the keys striking paper, the ding of the warning bell when one has reached the right hand margin, and the glide of the carriage as it slides to the left. I would fall asleep to that reassuring music.

We had a manual machine where the press of each key, signified by a round disk with a letter inside - now the stuff of jewerly) enabled a metallic arm to strike the page with one letter. Sometimes, if the timing wasn't just right, two keys would jam and you'd have t0
physically separate them. Pushing those keys down required a certain kind of strength. The ribbons were messy and left black and red smudges on your fingers when you had to change the ribbon.

Much to my joy, my high school had electric typewriters. These were faster versions of my manual one back home that just allowed me to make mistakes that much faster. These versions still had the carriage you "threw" back right after the warning bell. Even now when forced to use a typewriter, I reach automatically for that carriage lever to send the carriage back. Fortunately, white-out had been invented, but lining the carriage back up to type over mistakes was difficult. My mother had insisted that I take that typing course as she believed every girl should know how to type - just in case she had to earn a living. A woman's employment options were limited, even in the 1970s.

One thing about those old machines - there was no distracting email. When you typed - you typed and you thought about what you were doing because correcting an error was a pain in the butt. Even with white-out one had to line up the carriage to place the replacement
stroke in precisely the same spot as the original error. Somewhere along the line I learned the trick of a vellum window envelope. You slip the envelope - the kind with glassine over the window - not these new cost efficient windowless models - between the paper and the striking rod. You typed the correction and could see if things lined up correctly. When you had it just right you could pull out the envelope and retype the correction. There you go - an
archaic trick of the trade.

I worked years later at Proctor and Gamble as a clerk, not a secretary. Still I was given my own typewriter to use. It was a Selectric. Those long skinny rods that struck the page with each letter had been replaced with a letter-encrusted golf ball! The carriage no longer moved, just the golf ball. When you'd reach the end of a line, you pushed a button to send the ball back to the beginning. I'm afraid that signaled the end to the magic. No swat in mid-air required. No orchestrated swing of the tiny rods. No need to strengthen the fingers for the work of pushing mechanical keys. Just a hyperactive metal ball that jumped sporatically across the page.

Now I type away on a laptop keyboard. It's relatively silent - except for the voices in my head...but that's another post. While preparing this post, I noticed that one can download an app to make the computer sound like an old typewriter. I wonder if they can do something to simulate the feel of throwing the carriage return...

How about you? Have you ever typed on an old manual typewriter? Do you have an old electric typewriter tucked away in a closet? I do. Any collectors? Type in your comments and we can all share in the nostalgia.


flchen1 said...

Ooh, my dad had a couple manuals and we learned to type on those. And the kids' school still has an electric that I use occasionally... Ah, the memories ;)

Susan Sey said...

We also had a manual typewriter in the attic when I was kid. spent many happy hours jamming those keys all together.

My mom has transitioned to the electronic keyboard very nicely but she still strikes those keys with emphasis and her posture and hand position are things of beauty. She approaches the keyboard the way a concert pianist approaches a piano. It's lovely.

Karyn Gerrard said...

Oh wow, brings back memories. My mother just threw out an old Remington from the 1950's! She should have kept it!

One of my first jobs in the 80's I used an IBM Selectric with those changeable font balls, I LOVED that typewriter!
I wish the computer keyboard made the same noise. Someone should come up with that! Nostalgia fun!

Great blog Donna! Memories~

Di R said...

I took typing in high school, because my Grandma told me that she used to type over 90 words a minute when she started working in 1929. I love the sound of an old typewriter.

Donna~Really looking forward to you coming to Cleveland on Saturday!


Donna MacMeans said...

Karyn - I do believe there's an app for that! Seriously - I think there's something you can download that will make that clicking sound when you use your silent typboard. I wonder if it also makes that carriage return sound.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna, what a fun post! I had one of these forever, it was my dad's and now I deeply regret letting it go.


Donna MacMeans said...

fichen1 - It's hard to remember that those manuals were the norm! Correcting mistakes, though, is the art. No spellchecker in those days.

Donna MacMeans said...

Susan - LOL. I approach the keyboard with the posture of a hunchback! I wonder if we'll all pay for the advancement of technology in our sunset years?

Donna MacMeans said...

Di R - Hey - excited to heading up that way! I lived in Lakewood for the early years of my marriage so heading to Cleveland feels like coming home. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday as well.

Sheree said...

There's a piece of music I remember from high school that required an old fashioned manual typewriter - with keys and the bell, not that my high school orchestra performed it - I doubt we had the right typewriter. Still, I did wonder if any kid would have recognized the sounds nowadays.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Susan, what a lovely way to describe it. My mom and dad both used it that way.

Of course you had to have some serious finger strength to push down those keys!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Karyn! Oh my goodness! I'd forgotten the changeable font balls. Snork, that sounds vaguely naughty. :>

Font balls.



jo robertson said...

Great nostalgic post, Donna. I typed on all of those old machines. In high school we learned on the old black, hard-to-press, manual return machines. Strong fingers!

When I worked for the government, however, we had the electrics and I was in heaven. My goodness, I could do my work in twice the time!

I used to have an old manual with the extra long carriage for using those old genealogy sheets. I was very interested in family history and ancestry back then. It was great, but we decided after it collected years of dust in the garage that we'd sell it in a garage sale. I think it brought $10!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Di R! Have you ever seen Desk Set? There's a scene in the movie in the typing pool and all the neatly dressed little ladies are all typing, typing, typing. :> The noise is so rhythmic and yes,soothing!

I'm sure a lot of people would find it noisy and annoying, but to a writer or reader, I think it must be magical. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said: I wonder if it also makes that carriage return sound.

I'd use it! :> I always loved the "ding!" at the end of the line. It gave me a feeling of accomplishement. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said: Correcting mistakes, though, is the art. No spellchecker in those days.

That's the part I hated. Correcting ribbons in the selectrics, white out, ugh. Or worse yet, retyping the whole bloody thing.... UGH.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Sheree said: with keys and the bell, not that my high school orchestra performed it

Oh! I've heard that. I'm trying, in my poor feeble mind, to remember what it is....

Anyone know?

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

We had manual typewriters in my one typing class in high school. Have to say I hated the things. I can appreciate the nostalgia of them now, but when I was doing timed typing tests they were awful. I can't imagine writing a book on one.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Trish said: I can appreciate the nostalgia of them now, but when I was doing timed typing tests they were awful. I can't imagine writing a book on one.

Yeah, I agree. Nostalgia's one thing, but actually having to write a thank you.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT post, Donna!

I learned on a manual typewriter too and my little fingers used to ache after class. :-)

Sheree, I remember typing to music! It was suppose to improve our rhythm so we wouldn't stick the keys together. As I recall, it was something from La Boheme.

And Trish, I HATED those timed typing tests too. UGH! I don't think I ever typed over 45 wpm on one. :-(

I went all through college using a little Royal portable manual machine. Can't believe I typed all my papers on that! Wish I still had it.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

*AHEM* by "little fingers" I meant pinky fingers. Overall, I'm afraid my fingers have never been particularly little. :-P


Pissenlit said...

My mum's got a manual stashed in a closet somewhere. I think it's pretty nifty. I dug it out when I was fifteen when one teacher decided that from now on, essays in her class had to be typed up. We didn't have a home computer yet at that time and I didn't care to be limited to the computer lab hours at the school so I took her "typed up" rule literally and she couldn't complain because her rule didn't mention computers...heh heh. Using the typewriter took a little longer than I imagined as I had to use the hunt and peck method or I should say hunt and pound method seeing as how no matter how hard I tried, my fingers just weren't strong enough to touch type on the manual. Aside from that and the need to stop for the application of correction fluid, I really loved the device...the shapes of all the metal parts, the sounds it made, the upward swing of the typebars when I hit the keys. It was so cool! :D

Jeanne M said...

Donna -
The typewriter on your post caught my attention and my heart right away. I not only had a manual typewriter but I learned how to type on one with no letters or numbers. All my friends said the only reason I took typing was so I didn't have to pay anyone to type my papers when I went to college!

Little did I know that one typing class would end up helping me attend college at all. I ended up working full time as a secretary and going to school in the evening and did it in the 1960's! At that time there were no programs set up for someone trying to work and go to college. I'm glad the times have changed.

It really is a small world because when I changed schools and moved from Arizona to Florida the job that kept my college career alive was as a secretary for the Manager of the Packaged Soap and Detergent Division of Procter & Gamble for the southeastern USA.

When my sons were small my husband used to put his hands over my eyes and then have the boys tell me what to type! Great way for Mom to impress the kids. I really miss my old manual typewriter and still can't understand how I could type 99 words per minute on a manual typewriter but can't come close on an new computer keyboard. (But I can still type with the keys covered).

Donna MacMeans said...

Oh Sheree - I remember that song as well - it's not Flight of the bumblebee, but it was something similar. Those keys really did produce a kind of music. Now with ipods and earphones, I'm not sure I'd hear the musical touch if it did exist.

Donna MacMeans said...

snicker...snicker...font balls...

Good Lord - we're not much better than teenagers!

Donna MacMeans said...

Pissenlit - Strong fingers...I wonder if that's why I developed strong fingers. I can rip a phone book in half and carry 4 12 packs of Diet coke with two fingers on each hand to carry one case. I wonder if that is from learning to type of a manual typewriter.

What was that phrase you were supposed to type to learn the keyboard?

See the ugly brown fox jump over the lazy black dog - or something?

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne M -

We could swap P&G stories! Let's see...I remember Ivory soap was discovered by accident. Someone cooked the soap ingredients too long and noted the soap solids floating on top of the water. Ivory was born! I remember one of the perks of working at P&G in Cincinnati is that they would do your wash for you. They were testing various soap products and would pick up your dirty at work, wash it, dry it and bring it back to you. Being a teenager, I never took advantage of that program, but it seemed kind of cool. P&G was a huge advertiser on daytime tv - hence the name "soap operas". I think I was surprised to learn that P&G often competed against itself. Half the soap products are P&Gs under various names. The other half are Colgate- Palmolive. LOL

Jeanne M said...

Donna -
I remember at Procter and Gamble if you made a suggestion to the company that would save them money they would send you a catalog to pick a gift of your choice.

Now I work for a financial advisor and if I come up with a suggestion taht saves him time and money somehow I end up doing more work and have longer hours for the same pay.

I miss the "good old days"!

Jane said...

We used to have an old typewriter in the house. We learned how to type in high school on the manual typewriters instead of the computer keyboards.

Helen said...

Well done Fedora have fun with him

A great post and yes I remember those manual typewritters I learn't on them when I was in high school and used them lots when I first started work in a bank, I have never used and electric one just the manual ones and I always loved typing on them and fixing mistakes was fun LOL.
I don't have one at home and it is a long time since I have used a typewritter.

Have Fun

Jeanne M said...

Helen's comment just made me think of the job I had the summer after I graduated from high school when I worked for 3 lawyers.

No mistakes or corrections were allowed! Remember this was 1966 so you typed on a manual typewriter and there were no crossouts or correction fluid or anything else allowed on the documents.

I can remember I was so nervous the first day that I typed one document 4 times before I managed to get it right! Fortunately the more I did the less stressful I became and the fewer times I had to retype and an entire document!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Fedora, you got the chook. Talk about type-casting! Ha ha!

Donna, what a lovely post. It really brought back memories. I always was in love with the romance of being a writer and, because of all the movies I'd seen, that meant using a typewriter (and drinking copious scotch while you wrote and sitting up all night and throwing away a page with only a few words on it - all things thankfully I haven't taken up as part of my work life!). My parents bought me a little manual Imperial typewriter when I was about sixteen - the nagging clearly worked! LOL! I LOVED that typewriter. It was like I suddenly had validation as someone who wanted to be a writer. Still think fondly of that little blue machine - and how I laughed when I read your bit about the keys tangling up. Wasn't that the truth? I typed my first complete novel Darkness Holds a Stranger aka Guerillas in the Mist on that typewriter. Still remember the euphoria of that experience!

Yeah, great trip down memory lane. Thanks a bunch!!!!

Beth Andrews said...

Fun post, Donna! We had a manual typewriter at the house when I was a kid and I loved typing on it. I especially loved getting to the end of a line and returning the carriage to the beginning *g*

Also used to see how many keys we could jam at once :-)

I can still hear my high school typing teacher's nasal, droning voice as we all clickety-clacked away on the electric typewriters.

Oh, and a fun children's book is Click Clack Moo about farm animals who find an old typewriter and send notes to the farmer about wanting electric blankets. It's really cute :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Beth said: Oh, and a fun children's book is Click Clack Moo about farm animals who find an old typewriter and send notes to the farmer about wanting electric blankets. It's really cute :-)

Oh, how fun! I'll have to find this one, Beth. I've not seen it and although my youngest is reading now, I'm never too old for a good picture book. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: I typed my first complete novel Darkness Holds a Stranger aka Guerillas in the Mist on that typewriter. Still remember the euphoria of that experience!

Oh, my. Taking up the RS plume, Anna? Grins.

I had a little blue one too, although I didn't think about being a writer at that point. No, I wanted to be a vet. :>

Still, I wrote copiously and kept ledgers and all sorts of things that I typed laboriously on my machine. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said: They were testing various soap products and would pick up your dirty at work, wash it, dry it and bring it back to you.

Now that's a perk I could fall in love with....

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Pissenlit said: I really loved the device...the shapes of all the metal parts, the sounds it made, the upward swing of the typebars when I hit the keys. It was so cool! :D

Ohhhh yeah. And the ribbon had a particularly inky smell to it. Not plastic-y or chemical-y, just ink-y. :>

Laney4 said...

Taught myself on a Remington manual typewriter in the early seventies. No idea as to words per minute (wpm) back then. Took "Typing" in high school in mid seventies on electric typewriter. Test typed at 65 wpm when graduated. Used my portable manual typewriter to type other students' reports in empty college rooms, as well as when I was babysitting and the kids were fast asleep (as one couple never got home before 3 am, and I got a LOT of typing done before then). Secretarial course at college lasted 2 years, and you needed 35 wpm by graduation! Used an electronic typewriter when working as a secretary in the early eighties. Test typed at 85 wpm. Used computer at home business in mid eighties. Test typed at 119 wpm.

In 1985, I finished my full-time secretarial job on a Friday and my baby was due the following Monday. Durign the previous weeks/month, I had been typing a customer's book on my electric typewriter during the evening hours. Was trying to finish the book before my baby was born, so got up Monday and started typing again at 6 am right through till 2 pm appointment for an ultrasound and X-ray (as my baby had been breech throughout the nine months and was expected to be big, so I would need a C-section if he was over 9 lbs). Drank requisite 8 glasses of water and went to the hospital. After my ultrasound, I peed on the guerney. Figured it was the 8 cups of water. No. My water broke. (Also figured my sore back was because I'd been typing so much; apparently not!) Hobbled down the hall for my X-ray, and by 2:50 pm I was being wheeled in for my C-section. Was told the baby would have been born within 15 more minutes naturally, if he had been smaller. Didn't get out of the hospital for 8 days, as I got a bad infection and almost died. When I returned home, I took care of the baby, breastfed him constantly, and finished that stupid book within a week. Five years later, the customer brought it back and wanted revisions made. This time I typed it on a computer; what a breeze! A couple of years later, he again wanted corrections made; and this time I did it in one day rather than weeks on end. What a difference!

Yes, that Liquid Paper fluid was quite something back in the day. I was happy when they came out with the dry version (and still have some "correction tape"). I own an electronic typewriter that is sitting three feet away from me in my office. It is perfect for completing application forms and typing on large envelopes that don't fit in printers (when customers don't want to use labels), and it comes with 6 or so different font round, flat "disks" rather than balls.

Hey! Do you remember that original Candid Camera episode where they brought in a temp to do some typing on a manual typewriter? When she typed the first line and got to the end, she used her left hand to move the platen (there's a word you don't hear everyday) to the right, only to find that the platen kept on going and fell off the typewriter, landing in a garbage pail beside the desk. The look of astonishment, dread, etc. was priceless as she hurriedly tried to put it back on the typewriter before the "boss" returned. I'll never forget that episode....

The phrase you are looking for is, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", as it uses all 26 letters of the alphabet.

As for the "typewriter" music, do you mean the one that Jerry Lewis performs on his telethon (Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter"?

flchen1 said...

Ah yes, Donna... this was even before the days of correction tape and Liquid Paper! And God forbid that you make a mistake while typing on carbon paper... ;)

Pat Cochran said...

Began learning to type on one of the
"black monsters." Moved to my aunt's
portable, she was in sr. high and I
was in jr. high. We lived next door to
each other & the portable wore a path
between the houses. When I reached sr.
high in 1950, the typing classes used
a very basic electric model. I used a
portable for any letters,etc for years.
In 1976, I began writing a news column
for an area paper and moved on to a
"word processor." In the mid-'80s, we
got our first family computer, but it
was early '90s before I was convinced
to join the electronics age. Now it's
don't touch my laptop!!

Jenn3128 said...

Font balls...I'm going to continue to whisper that for the remainder of the day.

I have a hand-me-down IBM electric typwriter sitting right over there (see it) on my desk at work. I was going to get rid of it, but this industry (construction) tends to leap ahead and then fall behind on certain forms of communication. I had to use the darn thing today.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Laney said: This time I typed it on a computer; what a breeze! A couple of years later, he again wanted corrections made; and this time I did it in one day rather than weeks on end. What a difference!

OMGosh, now THAT's revision hell. Seven years? Eek.

You found the typewriter song! Wow, wasn't Jerry Lewis young in that bit...

The other version

actually has Leroy Anderson doing it, which was cool too.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Pat C said: it
was early '90s before I was convinced to join the electronics age. Now it's don't touch my laptop!!

Oh, my! I remember the "black monster" because that's what my dad had. :>

And I'm laughing because I constantly tell my boys, "DON'T touch the LAPTOP!" Hahaha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jenn 3128 said: Font balls...I'm going to continue to whisper that for the remainder of the day.

SNORK! *whispers* font balls

Bwahahahah! That's hysterical.

I know, I know, it's the little things that amuse small minds.

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, it's funny how certain titles have become the property of genres now, isn't it? It's like if you see 'shadow' you know it has to be a paranormal! DHAS was actually a bodice ripper (and I use the word advisedly!) set in France in the 100 Years War.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne M - Procter & Gamble knew how to treat their employees. And in all the years since, and in all the companies I've worked for, I've never seen a more loyal workforce. I knew people that would buy the dented can of Crisco or dented box of Tide - just so a regular customer won't have to buy it. Very loyal.

I worked on the shipping & receiving dock (another story) which was right next to the kitchens that made the pastries for the employee's pastry carts. Trucks would arrive an trays of fresh pastry would be wheeled on board. I assume they were used to sell pastries to the employees...but I discovered a couple of fresh pastries every morning on my desk - yum. If I hadn't married and moved away from Cincinnati - I'd probably weigh another 50 lbs!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna C said: DHAS was actually a bodice ripper (and I use the word advisedly!) set in France in the 100 Years War.

Snork! Seriously, you wrote an all out bodice ripper when you were sixteen? You go, girl!

And yes, shadow seems to be the purview of the paranormal and Dark (along with dangerous and deadly) seems to be reserved for romantic suspense alone...heehee.

Donna MacMeans said...

Okay here's a bit of nostalgia .... carbon paper.

Do you remember it? It was the only way to make copies. And if you made a mistake, you had to correct it on all the copies!

I'm not sure you can even buy the stuff anymore.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL on your first book, Anna. At least I waited till I could type on a computer (one of those early apples) to attempt my first manuscript. It was a nonfiction piece on how to set up an accounting workpaper. Yes - I figured I was an expert. LOL. But then the very computer I was using, assisted in doing away with my ever-present green columnar pads. The nerve! And Excel came with its own manual. Bummer.

Donna MacMeans said...

Helen - You loved fixing mistakes?

Sorry to say but you're a sick woman...seriously (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Beth -

I love your picture book suggestions. Did I tell you I bought the Bad David one for my 25 year old son? I think he could relate. The farm animals using a typewriter sounds great. i'm going to have to watch for that one.

Donna MacMeans said...

Good Grief Laney4 - You are a font of information!

Yup - that's the sentence and the music sounds right.

I remember that Candid Camera episode. That flipping the carriage was an art, and that episode was soooo funny. Can't do that on a laptop.

If I ever need a book typed, I'll know to find you. You were one dedicated typist!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, no, Jeanne, I was a sophisticated woman of the world of seventeen when I finished DHAS! ;-)

catslady said...

Oh I remember it well. That means I'm old as dirt lol. I was a secretary (aka administrative asst.) for over 15 years. Not something I really wanted to do but was told that was what I was going to do, so I did! The one thing about technology, is that I don't think you can go back again. Each new advance is strange and takes a bit to get use to but there is no way I would want to go back to those old manuel typewriters lol.

Nancy said...

Fedora, congrats on the bird!

Donna, what a trip down nostalgia lane! Yes, we had a manual typewriter. Yes, I have an electric one in the closet.

I have to say, my typewriter never lost a file or locked up on me. Writing is far easier on a computer, of course--except when it isn't!

Nancy said...

Trish, I think my jr. high typing class had manual typewriters, too. I was thrilled when I got an electric one for my birthday, before I went off to college.

Donna MacMeans said...

catslady -

I know what you mean. When I graduated, the girls were counseled to go into educational, secretarial work, or nursing. I think maybe social work was in there as well. Women weren't encouraged to become accountants, that's for sure. Now more women graduate with accounting degrees than men.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey - Did anyone else take shorthand in high school? I took something called notehand, which is basically the brief forms and some of the phonetic sounds. I use it now when I'm in an Accounting seminar and I'm working on a story, but I don't want the people next to me know what I'm writing.

Louisa Cornell said...

He's yours again, Fedora! Have fun with him!

When we were leaving to move to England I told my Nana I wanted to be a writer. She gave me her Smith-Corona manual typewriter and told me she knew I would be a great writer. Don't know about that, but she will never know what that old Smith-Corona and her faith in me meant and still means to me today.

I used that old Smith-Corona throughout high school and college. I have worked in offices where I had to type and I like to think what I learned sitting in my bedroom under the eaves in England helped me to keep some of those early secretarial jobs and will help me to get published one day!

Nancy said...

Louisa wrote: I like to think what I learned sitting in my bedroom under the eaves in England helped me to keep some of those early secretarial jobs and will help me to get published one day!

What a beautiful image--and a lovely story.

Jeanne M said...

Laney -
My first son was 9 lbs. 9 oz. 4 weeks early! I got laid off from my secretarial job for the Vice President of a manufacturing company when I was 6 month pregnant in the early 1970's because it was "unseemly" to have a pregnant woman in the office.

My revenge was my replacement latest 3 weeks and quit and they had to hire 3 secretaries to do my job! They still had manual typewriters (explanation was cost savings was of utmost importance) and I had to cover for 2 other secretaries who constantly called in sick! I worked their for 2 years and never took a sick day.

Ah, revenge is sweet! What goes around comes around!

Di R said...

Jeanne~I've never seen Desk Set, but it's definitely on my to be watched list. Thanks!

Donna~My little sister used to live in Lakewood, so there were a lot of trips to pick her up for the weekend. Safe travels on your way up.


Cassondra said...

Oh, Donna, what a wonderful blog! I grew up with one of those in the house. Alas, I think it's been thrown away now, and sometimes I still miss it.

Ours didn't work well though--it needed repair and a tuneup, and already, there wasn't anybody around that area who could do the work.

I DID learn to type on a manual typewriter, and can remember Mrs. Webb, the typing teacher, standing with her staff at the front of the room and calling out, "J!, K!, L!, Semi! THROW!!!!" as we pounded along with her cadence.

Wow, what a memory. She was a good teacher.

That said, I am glad for word processing.

LilMissMolly said...

I typed many a report on a typewriter and in college. In fact, I didn't get my first computer until 1995. And yes, that typewriter is in my basement. I just can't give it up! I think it's a Brother.

Sheree said...

I think it is Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter" which I remember parodied years later in an Animaniacs sketch.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne M -

LOL - I was one of the first women hired by Touche Ross (Now known as Deloitte Touche) by in the late 70s and was definitely the first staff accountant to be pregnant. I think the partner was terrified that my water would break on his new carpet (grin). They had to figure out what they would do for maturnity benefits because of me. Times - they are a'changing.

Donna MacMeans said...

Just wanted to say thanks everyone. It was fun sharing those typewriter memories with you all. Those machines had their charm, but I'd never go back (grin). I imagine one day my kids will be waxing nostalgic on writing on laptops instead of the latest technological innovation.

next up - manual calculators! (just kidding)

Night everyone -

marybelle said...

I learned to type on an old manual at school. I studied shorthand, typing & business principles. Does anyone even use shorthand any more? My Mother has an old manual that she still uses from time to time. I wonder were she gets the ink ribbon from.

catslady said...

Oh, I took shorthand and used it for most of my career. There actually is a knack to being able to dictate and the younger men couldn't do it lol. I too still use it - I use to make my christmas list up so the kids couldn't read what I was writing. Of course like a language, you have to keep using it. Although I remember quite a bit, the speed is definitely gone lol.