Just for a minute, I’m going to take you back with me to typing class in 8th grade at Severn River Middle School. We sat in rows, typewriters in front of us. We did the drills. “A, A, A…S, S, S…D, D, D…” We typed this sentence over and over again: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” The whole room was filled with sound…the reverberations of clicking keys, the pounding of returning and advancing the page, the echoes of the teacher calling out what we should type. It was chaotic. It was fun. It was hands-on learning—just you smacking the keys of the typewriter.
What I didn’t realize was just how valuable those drills and assignments would be in the long run, and that what I learned in that classroom has come to be one of the most treasured skills I possess.
I think I knew I wanted to write from as early an age as 12 or 13. My friends and I wrote bad poetry to boys, we wrote letters to each other in class, and my friend Lee and I wrote some kind of crazy story about The Rolling Stones, our favorite band. I still have those pages in an old, dilapidated folder in my special box of writings.
That typing class has come in handy over the years. I was able to type my high school and college papers. The resume and cover letter that got me the job at the Baltimore Orioles that launched my career in sports was written on an electric typewriter with green ink. I typed other people’s papers. And now, I’ve written books.
The skills I learned in typing class have stayed with me all through my life. As I sit here typing this blog post, I am so incredibly thankful for that typing class because it has allowed me to fulfill many of my dreams.
Last Sunday, my daughter and I ventured out to a local antiques store in Severna Park by the B&A Trail. We’ve wanted to duck in there for months and months, and we finally made the time for it. I was looking for something special when I saw it sitting there. I’ve never enjoyed spending $80 so much as I did for the old Royal typewriter pictured above that is still in working condition. I’ve wanted one for years as a remembrance…as an ode to typing, writing, and skills we should be thankful for; as a reminder of days gone by and the nostalgia of that 8th grade typing class and what was to follow; and as a call of duty to do the thing I enjoy more than anything in my spare time: writing.