long ago, and far away. Ok – more than 50 years and in the middle of the country. Does that sound better than saying….”once upon a time” or “in a galaxy far, far away” or any of the other expressions that seem to lead you to the conclusion that you are about to hear a story. Perhaps a fairy tale, maybe a tall tail, or just a blearily remembered version of a long ago event.
But this is not a story, it is real and many of you may remember exactly the same thing. I am talking about the era before computers, before word procesasors. Back to the days when a terrific high school graduation present was a portable typewriter for anyone headed off to college. Obviously, when you had to write a paper, it was written long hand by one method or another, then typed ONCE. Preferably without error….
[and you wondered where “typo” came from? No, you didn’t because you remember typing and typewriters. You remember typing as an elective that could be taken in secondary school. And, for the lawyers in the group – you are more than familiar with those yellow legal pads and might even remember the days when lawyer wrote things out and there were actually secretaries that typed them for you.]
There was this funky stuff that came in a small bottle resembling a thickened nail polish. It was called white-out (or correction fluid). If you made a typing error, you carefully rolled the paper up, painted over the error, blew it dry, rolled it down and tried again. Most faculty accepted neither handwritten papers by 1968, nor once that suffered from a serious case of white measles. Several years later a type-over tape was developed. Even later, with the advent of typewriters with a double ribbon (one portion of which was for erasure).
I had one of those portable typewriters. Other than my undergrad thesis which was subject to a number of really strict formatting guidelines, I typed all my own papers. Hitting return involved not my little finger but a hand/arm motion to move a lever which in turn actually retuned the whole roller carriage to the start point on the right side of the paper. (I imagine that the Mid-Eastern typewriters of their day worked in reverse for the left->right written languages.)
I have no clue as to what happened to that type writer. It must have been given away, lost, forgotten somewhere along my journey after the mid 1970s. I obtained my first computer in 1984 when we moved back to the US from my first Germany tour to attend grad school at John’s Hopkins. I know it was gone by then.
And what started this whole chain of thought was actually not typewriters, but 3×5 cards. But I will save that for another day.
In other news, for the sixth morning in a row, George has actually had detectable platelets and is now producing white blood cells. None of it is at “going home levels” yes, but that looks like a possibility in the next 7-10 days if this stem cell transplant continues to take hold.