Carriage Return...

June 2, 2007

These two words, in the LJ of , suddenly took me back to the past.

The words have reference to the age of that very useful gadget, the typewriter. I still remember the convenience I experienced when I realized that I could type faster than I could write…

The typewriter had been around for a while when I was a child; and my father had a Remington, which was really smooth and good. I remember a summer vacation (probably between school and college) when I went and enrolled at a “Commercial College” for classes in typewriting and shorthand. Alas, one of those skills is forever lost, but the other has truly served me well….I remember the days of typing


over and over again…and progressed down the course until the day came when I finally was able to type, without looking,

the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

on the huge clunky prehistoric typewriters that the institute had!

Alas, I quit before I went to the row which contains numbers,with the result that I am still not practiced and unseeing when I am typing numbers in my text!

And I remember the amount of preparation that went into using a typewriter; the papers with carbons inserted (carefully, or they would smudge the typed material), the ink eraser, a hard, unyielding round of rubber, that was kept ready to erase the all-too-frequent mistakes, not very successfully; keeping the material-to-be-typed conveniently on one’s right-hand side, the bad days when the keys would stick together in the middle, or the carriage wouldn’t return……and the typewriter had to be serviced or repaired!

How on earth did we manage to produce so many documents, when cut-and-paste didn’t exist, when missed-out lines couldn’t be inserted, when tabs and margins were set beforehand, when words had to be manually counted, columns carefully planned, and fonts and colours came in a total choice of…one? (oh, yes, there was a choice of red or black on my dad’s typewriter…)

I hark back to the rapid” ratatatt..zingg!ratatatt…zingg!” of either of my parents’ fingers on the keys, which meant that they were hard at work; later, as I began writing and expressing myself, I was given a much sleeker typewriter to work with; how I loved it!

Then came the electric typewriters,after I was married;these, I thought, were the last word in technology….and here I am today, at my laptop, which also doubles as my word processor, typing about those long-ago days….!

I have always envied people like my husband who never “formally” learned typing, but do perfectly well with two me, typing, as with many other skills, was something picked up with regular practice.

I have read novels (definitely, one by Agatha Christie) where the murderer is identified because of the uniqueness of the letters produced by their typewriter….

The idea of someone sitting and typing, and the words appearing on an illuminated screen instead of directly on the paper, would have been unimaginable about 50 years ago, I think.

Let’s see how typing evolves in the future!

…and ...thank you for saving my goat on a big mistake I had made in this post!