Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Thank you, Miss Tiano

by Annette Dashofy

We’ve all had teachers in our lives who made a huge impact on us. I can name several of my favorites without even straining my brain. I’ve even encountered a few of them in more recent years and thanked them. You’d think I’d given them a barrel of gold.

But it’s occurred to me that there were teachers in my life who I did not like at the time. I resented their prodding and their insistence that I practice and study subjects that didn’t interest or excite me.

Oh, sure, I adored my English teachers and my literature teachers and my history teachers.

Math? Algebra? Not so much. I still say I’m a writer because I like words a lot more than I like numbers.

But the one teacher I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is Miss Tiano. She was ancient when I had her in high school, so odds are she’s no longer with us. Or maybe she just SEEMED ancient to my teen-aged mind. I just remember that she had a sour expression, white hair, and wore moo-moos.

And despite my best efforts against it, she taught me to type.

It was on an IBM Selectric monster machine. No delete key. I was neither fast nor accurate.

Back then, I wrote stories. Novels, really. In long hand. In notebooks. Honestly, I think the reason I never attempted to publish anything at the time was because that meant I’d have to type it. I hated typing.

Fast forward thirty some years and here I sit, fingers on the keyboard for hours and hours and hours. I’m much faster now. Accuracy can only be attributed to my backspace and delete keys.

The reason I’ve been pondering all this lately is because my computer illiterate hubby (who wants nothing to do with cyberspace and thus remains nameless in my posts) has decided he probably ought to learn to use email. People send him messages that he can’t retrieve without my help. I’ve tried to teach him the basics. How to turn the PC on. How to log in to his email account. Where to click to open a message or to reply to one…

Then we get stuck. Hubby can’t type. He never met Miss Tiano. He hunts and hunts and pecks and hunts. I watch him try to compose a message and my fingers itch. Usually he gives up and tells me what he wants to say. I’m his email ghost writer.

There is simply no way I could teach him the keyboard. asdfjkl; It makes no sense to him. I don’t even have to think about it. I think of a word, my fingers type it.

I am extremely grateful to that gray-haired, sour-faced woman who pounded typing into my brain all those years ago.

Thank you, Miss Tiano, wherever you are.


Gina said...

So, Annette, your husband follows the Bible method of typing: seek and ye shall find.
I learned to type in high school, when the IBM Selectric with automatic erase and interchangeable type balls was state of the art. Now it's hard to imagine functioning without being able to type. I do most of my own word processing at the office - there's no choice, my assistant works for 3 other lawyers, too. As for writing, well, of course, we know we'd write no matter what - think MISERY. But being able to type and correct on a computer is a real assist.

Annette said...

Gina, I'll have to tell my hubby your term for his typing style. Add to the mix his dyslexia plus total lack of motivation and I don't think he'll ever conquer the keyboard.

At least he can manage the mouse. Point and click.

Tory said...

I took typing classes in summer school 3 different summers while I was in junior high and high school. It's hard to remember, but in those days I was BORED during the summer. Nothing to do? I can't even imagine it now!

Anyways, it was a great way to use time that would otherwise have been wasted. But I don't remember any of my teachers. Except that none of them wore moumous.

My word verification is "twingst," the past tense for having eaten a twinkie.

P.S. Annette - I just had a chance to read your and Joyce's short stories this morning, and they were great! I loved them both.

Joyce said...

Annette, consider yourself lucky. I went to a Catholic high school and we had manual typewriters in the Personal Typing class. Only the business students were allowed to use the electrics. I guess they figured we college prep students wouldn't need the latest technology.

I liked your short story better than mine. And yours didn't have any typos or formatting problems. I guess I can't blame that on the manual typewriters.

Bill Crider said...

Typing was the one course I never wanted to take. Miss Minnie Ruth Smith made it more fun that I ever thought it could be, and she's one of the teachers to whom I dedicated my doctoral dissertation. Without her, I'd never have gotten there.

Karen in Ohio said...

Ah, typing class. Mine was also on manual typewriters, and we had to erase all our mistakes, through however many carbons they had us make that time. I detested it, and barely passed the class with 36 wpm (passing grade was 35 wpm). Fast forward to computers, and suddenly, no longer fretting about the need to keep paper intact, I sped up apace. These newfangled contraptions are a godsend!

Now I type around 50 wpm, although I've typed faster. You can check your speed at, by the way.

Not taking typing in school is why people like John McCain are viewed as fuddy duddies. Fewer and fewer captains of industry, such as there are left, are in that category of left behind when it comes to computers.

However, an author friend of the family, a man who has written dozens of books on natural history topics, types with two fingers. He's amazing.

Anonymous said...

My first typewriter was my Nana's Underwood Manual. Our neighbor taught us to type.

Does anyone still use 'the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog?

I switch keyboards twice a year - I wear them out and I read somewhere that it's good brain exercise.

xo Kathy

Joyce said...

I'll have to try that typing test! Now that I'm not typing police reports all day, I think I've slowed down.

My kids learned keyboarding when they were in elementary school. By the time they were in high school, they typed a lot faster than I could.

Annette said...

I'm going to have to try that typing test, too, although I probably won't make the results public. Heh.

Joyce, I liked your story a lot! It totally creeped me out!

Don't think I had it easy because I had a Selectric in school. At home, I used my mom's Royal manual. Then I spilled a cup of hot chocolate into it...

Karen in Ohio said...

Uh-oh, Annette. Was that accidentally on purpose?

The funniest thing in our typing class in my Catholic high school--the three fat-fingered football players who could out-type almost all the rest of us. Turned some of my preconceived ideas on their heads.

Annette said...

Karen, I think it was something of a Freudian Slip.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I feel like that on my new netbook. 92% keyboard.

BTW, I'll put these links again.

I posted some pictures at my blog and on Facebook.

Off to watch the whales play.

Annette said...

Will, I love the pictures AND the story behind publicity hound you. Aloha!

lisa curry said...

Annette, I had a man typing teacher in 9th grade. I can't remember his name, but I liked him, and I loved typing (yes, on an IBM Selectric). I was very good at it, and I always say typing was the most useful class I ever took in high school, because once I graduated from college, I was able to support myself by temping as a secretary while searching for a "real" job. It worked right after college when I moved to Atlanta before I found my first real job, and it worked again when I moved back to Pittsburgh 5 years later and had to look for another real job.

My husband is a hunt-and-peck typist too, but he's very computer-literate, because he uses a computer at work. The funny thing is that I always wear the letters off my keyboards from heavy use, especially the "f" and "j" home keys , and then he has a hard time finding the letters when he tries to use it, so he always ends up getting me a new keyboard. :-)

Anonymous said...

Lisa, that's so funny. My one-year old laptop is now missing the "N" on that key.

Becky said...

Way to go brother its about time.
Practice makes perfect. Who cares how long it takes. If Fred can do it so can you!

Annette said...

Becky, don't get too excited. We have a very LONG way to go yet.

And, Lisa, for some reason, it's the "N" that is disappearing on my keyboard.

Karen from Mentor said...

Why not get your hubby one of those voice recognition programs so he can dictate his messages?
Enjoyed the site, thanks for letting me visit.

Karen :)

Patg said...

I remember "having" to take a typing class during a time when women being a secretary was one of three jobs a woman was expected to do until she got married. I hated the idea, but learned anyway while never getting any real spead. I'm especially grateful I was 'forced' because though I never got paid to type, I needed it in several jobs and it was extremely useful not to have to think about it.
As I sit here typing this message, I realize I do not think about where the keys are at all. My typing program is running. I'm sure the internal mechanism that allowed me to effortlessly learn the keyboard is what allowed me to learn and memorize effortlessly all the city, airport and airline codes I needed while working in the travel industry.