Mrs. Fleming Taught Me Well   5 comments

IBM Selectric. Note that there is no manual return ... you just press a button to start a new line of typing! SUCH an innovation.

IBM Selectric. Note that there is no manual return … you just press a button to start a new line of typing! SUCH an innovation.

We are all a product of our education.  Sometimes, technology moves past where we were educated … and such is the case with me.  You see, I use my right thumb too much.

I blame Mrs. Fleming.  She taught typing when I attended Nodaway Holt High School.  Typing.  A class that is no longer offered … and when it is offered, it’s taught to elementary students.  Today, the class is called “keyboarding.”

So what’s my point?  I was taught on an Olivetti typewriter … which means I was a good typist.  I got an electric typewriter.  I even got to move up to use an IBM Selectric on some days (we only had 4 of those). Not all students were so fortunate.  Some had to learn on manual typewriters.  If you’ve never had the pleasure, please, trust me.  Today’s keyboards are an improvement.

This ball had the font for the IBM Selectric. Want to use a different font? Just put in a different ball. SUCH an innovation.

This ball had the font for the IBM Selectric. Want to use a different font? Just put in a different ball. SUCH an innovation.

As I was learning to type, one thing I learned was that after every period, you spaced twice before starting the next sentence.  It was a visual cue to the reader that a new thought was starting with the new sentence.  It’s how I was taught, and it’s how I’ve written this post up until this point.

It’s old school – really, old school.

Today, no one puts 2 spaces between sentences. Today, the smart machines we all use have variable width fonts and know to put a wider space after a period than after a word. So, the spacing is done automatically, and the typist keyboardist operator only needs to press the space bar once after a period. The computer does the rest.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Fleming taught me so well, that I continue to put 2 spaces between every sentence in every email, letter and blog post that I write. I try to remember to insert one space only, but I’m not as good at remembering to change as I might be.

After all, I still remember Mrs. Fleming’s lessons about spacing from 40+ years ago. I remember her teaching the class to strike the typewriter’s keys like a cat striking it with its paw. That visual will never leave me, no matter how much technology may advance.

More

Slate.com: Space Invaders

Cult Of Pedagogy: Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces After A Period!

 

Posted September 13, 2014 by henrymowry in Living Life

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5 responses to “Mrs. Fleming Taught Me Well

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  1. Oh Henry, I saw that picture of the IBM Selectric type head and had such a rush of nostalgia for that brilliant typewriter. I, too, add those two spaces after every period. Don’t care. I once owned my own little Selectric that I bought second hand just because. I wish I still had it.

    • In my first real white collar job, the lady that typed our marketing plans had a Selectric with a stash of those silver balls in her desk … so she could vary the font as needed. That was high tech in the ’80s.

  2. oh memories… Love your font ball photograph! I still space twice after periods. Can’t break good habits!!! I remember when the executive office obtained a Canon typewriter that could keep small phrases in memory, such as a signature line, so you didn’t have to type, retype this repetitive information… My how times have changed!

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