Friday, June 19, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Click Click and Pause

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.



This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt featuring the typewriter demands that I write the OFFICIAL version of a story my husband tells every year around February 27.

It was the winter of 1983. I was “great with child” awaiting the arrival of our second bundle of joy in early March. Barry was working at Signet Bank. He was enrolled in the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management, a three-year program in which participants attended classes one week each year and then wrote papers during the rest of the year.

Each paper had a scheduled deadline. He wrote; I typed. Then the paper was inserted into a manila envelope and mailed to the professor. Deadlines must be observed!

I awoke that Sunday morning, February 27, with that familiar sensation that labor had begun. When I nudged Barry to tell him the news, he bolted upright. “NO!” he said. “You have to type my paper.”

As I had been throughout our college days, I was Barry’s able assistant behind the keyboard. I actually enjoyed typing and still do. Barry hated typing. In fact, he failed typing class in high school because he was busy looking INSIDE the workings of the typewriter rather than actually typing to increase his speed and accuracy.  Ironically – or maybe understandably – Barry paid his way through college repairing typewriters and adding machines as a repairman for Price Business Machines in Harrisonburg.

Typing at JMU 1972  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Can't explain this expression but I'm typing away in 1972

In 1983, our typewriter was the same one from our college days. The Smith-Corona was a heavy thing – portable electric but heavy. Barry set up the typewriter and got me started on his paper while he tended to Daughter #1.

He timed my contractions according to how I typed. Click Click Click Click ~ PAUSE ~ Click Click Click Click ~ PAUSE ~ Click ~ PAUSE. Every contraction brought with it a typing error. There was no “undo” button back then, and my Smith-Corona did not have a built-in erase ribbon either. Wite-Out was our best friend.

Had Barry’s paper been any longer, I might have run out of Wite-Out. I might also have run out of time. As soon as I finished typing, we left for the hospital, and Daughter #2 arrived just thirty minutes later.

Wendy and Zoe Feb 27, 1983  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Mother and Baby Feb 27, 1983

SHIFT your attention to Sepia Saturday to read what others have TYPED.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

36 comments:

  1. How on earth did you concentrate? Well done.

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    1. Judging by how many errors I made, I guess I didn't do all that well.

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  2. Brilliant story, and what a heroine you are to produce a child after all that effort on the typewriter. Perhaps the closed-eye shot was a way of learning to touch-type?

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  3. Oh my!! I do remember those days with write out. You were a trooper to type that paper for him while you were in labor!! Definitely a story worth telling yearly!

    betty

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    1. No email yet in those days, I guess.

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  4. Geez!!! My story isn't quite that good, but daughter Suzanne was born the day after I was hit by a car. Our insurance used to cover 3 or even 4 days in the hospital after a baby's birth & I had intended to stay the full 4 days. With a 3 year old son at home & being bruised & sore, I wanted time to rest. But my husband insisted he HAD to attend a 2-day meeting in a town 2 hours away so I HAD to come home after only a day & a half so I could take care of our son. I've long forgiven him, but I tell you - if men had to have the babies you know they'd insist on staying in the hospital for a week or two! Luckily your story is actually rather funny - though I suppose it wasn't quite so funny at the time. Good thing, given time, we can laugh or at least roll our eyes at men & their sometimes thoughtless foibles.

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  5. Wow, that was cutting it fine! Great to have an old typing photo to go with your entertaining story.

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    1. It really was. I started to wash my hair first -- good thing I didn't!

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  6. Wow! I think I will go hug my husband, though he's had his own share of thoughtless foibles.

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    1. HA -- I guess my husband makes others look good after that!

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  7. What a great story. Do you think he was trying to distract you maybe from the pain? Just joking.

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    1. Yes, Alex, that was it -- the labor-preparedness kits now recommend a good typing session before heading to the hospital.

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  8. Not many of us could beat that story and I can see how it will be passed down the family for years to come. What we do in the name of love!

    Family History Fun

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    1. Really! And yes, he tells the story yearly to anyone who stands still long enough.

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  9. I never had an electric typewriter, just a manual one. I always used erasable typing paper, so it was usually easy to correct my errors.

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    1. Oh? There's paper that is easier to erase? Hmm, don't remember that.

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  10. This is a prize winner, Wendy! One of your best!
    And further proof that women are stronger and more capable then men. :-)
    I well remember the frustration of managing double spaced lines, footnotes, underlines, strikethroughs, indents, headers, footers, etc. etc. on a clunky manual typewriter. Electrics seemed like Cadillacs, too big and too expensive.

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    1. I had a sheet of paper with typed numbers 1-33 and 33-1 that I put behind my typing paper so that I could figure out when to stop typing the body of an essay in order to put footnotes at the bottom with a neat 1" margin. I was glad when professors started accepting end notes instead.

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  11. Now, that's dedication. :-) My wife would have told me to type it my own dang self!

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  12. What a GREAT story! My dad kept his old typewriter (maybe from the 40's or so) until the day he died and could type a mean paper with just his two index fingers. But I can assure you he never did that while in labor ;-)

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    1. Imagine how well he could have texted then~

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  13. Fabulous story, Wendy! That typewriter should be bronzed -- along with baby boots!

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    1. That would be a humdinger of a trophy!

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  14. Oh, Wendy, I giggled my way thru this post. First things, first, eh? Paper, then babe. Well done -- in all ways.

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    1. We consider it a funny story too. I'm impressed that he was paying attention to the rhythm of my typing! One saving grace, I guess.

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  15. That certainly is a story worth telling and re-telling!

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    1. Yep, we're keeping pace with the demands.

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  16. Oh my goodness Wendy! That's quite the story and you are one sweet wife.

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  17. Wait! Don't most pregnant women help plow the back 40, haul water to do laundry in the copper kettle, bake bread, and type their husband's paper even with labor in progress? Huh! Not quite and nearly never. You're a wonder, Wendy!

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    1. That is true -- and that is exactly the stuff I'm made of. Thanks for noticing. HA HA HA yeah I kill me!

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