Reunions can be challenging for some people, embarrassing for others and just plain boring for a few.
I’ve always enjoyed them, as I did our recent every-five-year “All School Reunion” held over this past Fourth of July weekend in my little home town of Earlham, IA, about 30 minutes west of Des Moines off I-80.
Of course, I saw lots of people from my recent and distant past, and while there were a few I totally did not recognize, others had hardly changed, with the exception of a few extra wrinkles and whiter hair.
Those who are connected with me by Facebook often would say “oh, I’ve seen all your great travels,” or comment on a recent post. Love it or hate it, Facebook is masterful at helping us keep up with friends and families from afar. There’s not as much “catching up” to do when we get together, as we feel like we know what has been going on already.
But probably more fun was taking the tour of the school, led by a couple of young National Honor Society students. We thought it would be so boring for them, but they commented that they enjoyed hearing our stories of yesteryear, who did what hilarious thing when, which teachers were the best or not, etc.
So when we arrived at the south end of the third floor of the original Earlham High School building, several of us realized that’s where we took “typing” class. Yes, this was before computers, and no, there weren’t hard drives, but rather buckets of WhiteOut.
But what’s old is new again, as my 23-year-old son was given — and uses — an old Royal typewriter for his birthday this year. Amazingly, he can still get typewriter ribbon for it, and has a place to get it repaired when needed.
Editing on a typewriter was a far harder adventure than it is on computers today. You could get by with slathering the white paint-type stuff over incorrect spellings, but if there were too many, you’d have to type the whole thing over again. Some of the later typewriters had the built-in WhiteOut on the ribbon, which felt light years ahead of the others.
Made you really think about what you were going to say, and how to say it. No auto spell. No copying and pasting entire paragraphs around to other locations. Just cautious hunting and pecking for some, and long fingernails were pretty taboo for others.
My late husband, Geoffrey, reminded me many times “when we met, you were using a Sears electric typewriter!” It was a dandy little machine, but we quickly joined the high tech communication world first with a word processor, then with a computer, and shortly after, we were one of the first users of AOL email.
Thank goodness for computer editing today, where we can email — instead of printing — an entire manuscript to a proofreader and content editor, and they can turn on “track changes” to make their suggestions. No red ink needed. No reams of paper taking up space on the floor and the desk. I recently helped edit a portion of Bonnie Lou Coleman’s sci-fi story on Google Drive, and I could literally “see” her accepting changes “live” right behind me!
I am fairly proficient on both a PC and a Mac, and still thrill at the concept of iPad, Mac and yes, Android phone, all syncing and playing together nicely.
I continue to work on my crime fiction novel, “Fade Out,” about a young female radio reporter who covers the crime beat, helps police solve cold cases and for fun, produces mystery theatre podcasts. I so appreciate sharp-eyed proofreader Sandy Vernon in Prescott, and patient content editor Ann Videan of Mesa. I’m finishing the editing notes they gave me, and hope to have a finished project done by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, my titles are using radio and broadcast terminology such as “Fade Out” and “Dead Air” to name a couple. But it was suggested by Rebecca Phillips Dahlke, author of the Dead Red Mystery Series, that I need something a little catchier to go with the titles. Any ideas? Think radio, microphones, murders, etc. Let me know if you have any suggestions, and I’ll use your name — or one of your choice — in my next novel.
Read this entire October blog “On typewriters and all things old” at