What’s a Typewriter?


 A few days ago, Madison was busy at the computer typing out a report for school.  The report had to fill the entire page, and could be double spaced.  She was about a paragraph short and debated changing the margin size to make the paper longer in appearance, even though it contained the same number of words.  Kate and Daryl were visiting for supper, and Daryl reminded her that it was possible that the teacher could have a guide that she could place over the page, and would know that the margins were wider than normal.  Apparently he had a teacher that would do that, and many kids failed the paper because they tried to “cheat”, so to speak.  So I sat and watched as she resumed writing the paper, adding sentences into existing paragraphs, while adding words here and there. Paragraphs were shortened here, made longer there, and words added or deleted as necessary.  She was doing the whole “copy and paste” thing in order to extend the paper, while making sure the paper make sense. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and zippooooooo she was done.

  I had to watch in awe, because this type of paper would have taken me 2 or 3 hours to type out when I was in high school.  My memory took me back to the 1970’s when I was a in high school, and was going to begin typing and accounting classes.  Women were encouraged to go into the secretarial field, so this was a “hot” class to take. The room was on the second floor and was huge, spanning the entire length of the front of the building.  One side was for accounting and the other side had an abundance of typewriters set up on desks, with an aisle between them.  We had the coolest teacher, Miss Bellott,  who seemed to be very close to our age, even though most of us were taller than her 🙂  She had this long dark shiny straight hair, and a laugh that was infectious.  We would all line up at our typewriters, and learn the fine art of typing without looking at your fingers.  If someone were to tell me that 40 some years later my fingers would be racing across the keyboard of my computer, I would have laughed like crazy.  Our typewriter at home was big, bulky and heavy, but we were so happy to have one to use.  You always had to make sure you had enough typing paper, carbon paper, and the pencil type correctors with a special eraser on one end and a small brush on the other end. You also prayed that the typewriter ribbon would not run out in the middle of the process.  There was no “white out” to use, and we didn’t have an electric typewriter at home that had a correction button to push.  To the well-trained teachers eye, they could tell when we used erasers instead of starting over.

  I cringe when I think about writing the big papers for English that encompassed a large percentage of your grade.  There could be no mistakes, and you really had to be careful all through the typing process. You had your draft off to the side to use as a guide while typing the paper, and if you were lucky you had one of the holders that held the paper up at eye level to make typing easier.  You had to manually set the tabs and margins before beginning the whole process, then you would insert your 2 pieces of typing paper with a piece of carbon paper sandwiched between.  I usually sat at the vanity in my room and did my typing, with the rock and roll music  from WLS.Chicago playing the background.  I was so pumped when I started because my drafts had been honed to perfection between the teachers input and my rewrites, so the typing could commence.  My enthusiasm soon wavered as I would get to the bottom of the page, make a mistake and have to start all over.  That heart wrenching moment when you would get to the bottom of the page, be exhausted from typing for hours and accidentally hit 2 keys at the same time.  You would slowly peek at the draft,  hoping with all your might that the correct key hit the page first.   There was absolutely no room for error, even though you would sit and look at that mistake and try to figure out how to fix it without starting over.   The argument in my head would then begin…..” Perhaps the teacher wouldn’t notice the mistake?  Maybe I could carefully erase and type over the wrong letter?  Forget it!  Just start over….you’ve gotten this far and now is not the time to get sloppy.”  How I would have loved to be able to cut and paste, move paragraphs, insert words, click on the online dictionary, hit spell check, go to an online template that I could  use to set up the page…..My goodness, sometimes change is good.  It does make me sad that my kids will never experience the humbling experience of typing an important term paper on such an archaic device as a typewriter.  They will never know that wonderful feeling when you have that final paper in your hand, completely typo free and as beautiful a work of art as the masterpieces in the Louvre ♥



About 2 pounds of hamburger

One medium onion, chopped

2 cans of Brooks Hot Chili beans (don’t drain)

1 can Light red kidney beans, drained

One large can tomato juice

Salt, pepper, and chili powder (use amount to your taste, my kids like spicy, so I use more chili powder)

Brown hamburger with onions, drain well

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer about an hour.  Sometimes I will throw it into the crock pot and let it cook for the afternoon on low.

Serve with warm corn bread or grilled cheese.

And remember, make plenty because it’s always better the next day 🙂

Everyone has their own chili recipes, so this is just another one to throw into the mix.


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