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Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Many things remind me that I am getting old! I started out over 70 years ago using a green "Dixon Ticonderoga" grammar school pencil. Then I and my contemporaries were issued "straight pens" with a cork finger grip. We dipped the pen into that ink well that was on the top right of every school desk. As we matured, we moved up to the upper classes where we used fountain pens and of course, pencils. At high school we were introduced to the manual typewriter. The electric was still a writer's dream. Into the top secret U.S.Army Security Agency where I was issued a typewriter that the army called a "Mill;" which was devoid of lower case letters; upper case only. Three years of "cloak and dagger" top secret typewriter output found me discharged and into a tragically dead end bearing business career where I began typing invoices on a "manual" typewriter. I pause here to marvel at the very gradual advances in literary and writing technology that I had experienced. Along came the electric typewriter. The transition from manual to electric was accompanied by a somewhat steep learning curve. Trying to remember that the electric typewriter no longer required a manual carriage return, and trying to keep your fingers from repeating key strokes. Hi tech electrics had the revolutionary automatic carriage return. Then, miracle of miracles, along came the "Sinclair," "Atari" "Radio Shack" and other dabblers in very early computing. Here we move into the latter stages of my journalistic career with the advent of the very early personal computer. When I started writing for the Mercer Messenger 30 years ago, I initially used a pencil and yellow lined paper to write a basic manuscript, moving paragraphs and sentences by circling them and arrowing them to their new location. Then came the electronic typewriter. Mine was a Brother which used a heat transfer system to print a page. It was also the first time I had a "spell-checker" and correction feature. And now to put a cherry on top of this rather verbose journalistic chronology, along came the Epson in the illustration above. I thought I achieved the ultimate in journalistic technology! The rest is recent history.

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