Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Writing in Days of Yore: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Ah, The Old Rules. The Way Things Must Be Done. The bygone era of two spaces after a period. Of flipping the manual return and that gloriously distinct sound of the carriage sliding left, ready to start a new line. Lo, those were the days of typewriters. Then came the dawning of carbon paper copies; when correction tape gave way to white out, which was eschewed for erasable ink, that was then thrown out for dot-matrix-printed papers.

Get ready to shout GET OFF MY LAWN if these ring a bell:

  • You not only know what "CC" really means, but you've also used carbon paper. 
  • You recall the agonies of retyping an entire document. Back before auto-save, back when one line-edit meant rewriting everything.
  • Picking white-out from under your nails and the dread upon spotting the ink/carbon smeared across the side of your hand is quite familiar.
  • Tearing off the hole-punched paper guides from dot-matrix papers and cursing when the perforations tore before the print job was done.
  • The joy of learning Wordperfect 5.1 for DOS still gives you a warm fuzzy.
  • The days when apps were software and you had to buy them in a box from a brick-and-mortar store, which meant planning a trip to a bookstore or CompUSA. 
  • You can describe cartridges, cassettes, floppies, and 3.1s.
  • The sight of grey text on a blue screen brings back fond memories. Yep, green on black too.
  • Adding sticky notes to your wall of DOS command codes to run programs and locate files (and threatening bodily harm to co-workers if they took one of those notes).
  • The arrival of Windows 3.1 meant you didn't need to remember the DOS codes and was cause to celebrate; probably coincided with the start of your Solitare addiction.
  • You laugh recalling at the first time you used spell check (F2+Ctrl). 

Progress, it's a fabulous thing.


  1. ~shakes cane~
    (but it's a collapsible, lightweight alloy, shock-absorbent walking stick with LED path light)

    1. LED path light? Whoooweee, you got yourself something faaancy!

    2. (I may have looked up the techno-fanciest model now available - but that path light *would* be a great feature, huh??)

  2. I still worry at the line-editing phase, because what if the page reflows! Zomg! But then I remember how we don't use hot-metal typesetting anymore and ahhhh... I feel better. :)

    1. LOL, bless those hot-metal typesetting days, or I wouldn't remember why we put the period and the comma inside the quotation marks. :D

    2. Remember having to deal with charts, tables, and images in WordPerfect and going through all the anchoring when edits made the page reflow? ZOMG

  3. I once worked as a word processing temp for a big PR firm in Chicago where they had ONE working daisy wheel in the corporately preferred font, and whichever department gained possession of The Daisy Wheel wielded immense power.

    1. ~shrieks in horror~ 🌼 ~imagines the office antics to claim The One Wheel~ 🌼 ~dies laughing~