Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mrs. McIntire: Typing 101

For the past several weeks, I have been able to chat a bit about typing and the importance thereof. But when I sit down in front of my computer terminal, I know for a surety that the keyboard won’t change on me. Granted, I now have a 10-key pad to the right and bunch of other buttons along the top that I never use, but the keys are in the same place every time (although sometimes my fingers don’t believe it).

I have two people to thank for the consistency in life: My mom and Mrs. McIntire, my high school typing teacher. Frequently, I ask myself, “Where would I be without these two people who nagged me into doing something that, at the time, I really didn’t want to do?”

I just remember when I signed up for classes at Rigby High School, home of the mighty Trojans, my mother made sure I signed up for typing. She previously had made my brother and my sister sign up for the course. They had to endure typing and Mrs. McIntire’s constant harping about fingers on the keyboard, eyes on the paper, no swearing in class, and no banging on the typewriter because of your own frustrations.

So why not me? It was a tradition to take typing. All my cousins had Mrs. McIntire. Why was I any different? Plus, all five of my younger siblings ultimately would have Mrs. McIntire, too. It was just one of things everyone did. Besides, I think my mother knew what the future was going to be or figured I ought to take at least one class in which I would learn something.

I remember those cool orange books we had, how we could actually bend them back at the seams, the only book in the 12 years I could do that with, without getting into serious trouble. We must have been the last class in the world to type on manual typewriters: old Royal 44s (I realize many of the readers have no idea what a Royal 44 was. Just think "ancient machine," precursor to your keyboard) with a true carriage return we had to hit with our right hands in order to go back to another row.

Each morning our fingers had to line up, like first graders going to lunch, on the home row. Haltingly, our fingers chattered through the middle row: “ffjjffjjjffjj ddkkddkkddkk ssllssllssllssll aa;;aa;;aa;;. Then we started different rows: top, then bottom, then those crazy, hard to reach, hard to remember, numbers and the things we did when you shifted like @$&*# which we knew secretly meant swear word in the typing world. It was great fun to type @#$%^**(+)*&^%$#@ because we could actually swear and nobody, I mean nobody, thought anything about it--except , maybe, for Beetle Bailey. And I figured since I didn’t say it, I was not a guilty party. It was almost too fun.

I had to sit the entire year right in front of Mrs. McIntire’s desk. I didn’t mind that at all until we did one of the timed typing tests. Most of the time, Mrs. McIntire did the test with us. Even at the end of the year when I thought I was becoming Mr. Speedy Gonzalez, Mrs. McIntire’s carriage return would ding about four times to my one time. And I knew she didn’t have very many errors.

Now, Mrs. McIntire would be proud of me if she could see my fingers dance across the keyboard. Of course, I still would have to divert her attention when I hit the numbers. For some reason, I still cannot remember where they are supposed to go, and I have to look. Sometimes, I take just a little look, but I can hear her behind me on her Royal 44, typing about one zillion words per minute.

I have always wondered what happened when she got her dainty hands on a smooth, responsive keyboard. Probably, no one could have seen her fingers. What, six zillion words per minutes? I can hear her clicking away. But then again, she might have decided she didn’t “need no stinkin’ computer keyboard to type any faster.”

Actually, because of Mrs. McIntire’s training, I don’t dare look at my fingers. If I do, I cannot type anymore. But, Mrs. McIntire, wherever you are, turn your head while I type my numbers--2 4 6 8, who(m) do we appreciate...typing teachers, typing teachers. May your fingers dance across the keyboard because, I believe, keyboarding has become a national sport.


Dear Chicka said...

What an awesome story dad. Thanks for sharing!

Grandma Turtle said...

Did Mrs. McIntire have a couple typewriters with the letters on the keys blackened out? Oh, I hated getting those! Loved your article.

Colleen/Grandma/Mom said...

Fun article, Darrel! Did you know I was a typing teacher, too? In fact, Greg almost didn't ask me out because of his ill feelings toward his own typing teacher!

Darrel L. Hammon said...

Grandma Turtle--Yes, Mrs. McIntire's typewriters had the keys blackened. Even today, I cannot look at the keys because only my fingers know where they are.

Colleen--I don't think I knew (or remembered) that you were a typing teacher. See...good things can happen, Greg? You have a wonderful wife, despite her career as a typing teacher.....

HJKeller said...

This was a great story! I remember taking typing in 7th grade. I do not remember my teacher's name, however. I think I am like that, too, though. If I look at my fingers, I am unable to type precisely anymore. So weird how that works.

You even bought us that typing game. Do you remember that? I cannot remember the name of it, however. Something with an 'M.'