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The other day I was
talking to one of the over
the hill generation, Monroe
Smith. He noticed my hand
shaking and asked me
how I managed to get all
this gibberish that I spout
on paper. I told him that
I typed it up myself. His
reply was that no males of
my generation learned to
type as it was only females
that were skilled enough to
perform this task.
In thinking about
Monroe’s inquiry, he
was correct as almost no
males in my generation
ever took typing in high
school. However, I am
the exception and there is
long story as to why I was
stupid enough to risk the
embarrassment of being so
uncoordinated in front of a
bunch of very coordinated
females.
When Hassel Newman
and I were in the 11th
grade, we decided to take
typing rather than World
History as we figured that
typing would be a crip
course. But the real reason
was that all of the hot girls
that we knew were taking
typing. Now Hassel was
the football star and a very
talented athlete. How-
ever, the girls in the class
were soon typing 30 plus
words a minute without a
mistake. If you have ever
used a manual typewriter
you know that this really is
not easy. Well, the football
star failed, but due to the
teacher’s decision to not
risk Hassel not graduating
with the rest of the class,
she gave him a passing
grade. I managed to escape
with a C grade. Of course,
the rest of the class called me a Sissy (but for some
reason they did not refer to
Hassel as a Sissy).
Little did I know at the
time that the decision to
learn to type would benefit
me so much. I had no idea
how the embarrassing high
school experience would
be a blessing in disguise.
When I was drafted into
the service in 1950, you
had to take a test to help
the Air Force utilize your
skills. When the Sergeant
learned that I could type,
that put me in a different
category from the rest of
the recruits. Riding by
train, I was given the meal
tickets and was responsible
for overseeing my recruit-
ing class all the way from
Lake City, Florida to San
Antonio, Texas. That was
not an easy task as we
had to lay over in New
Orleans and the recruited
class wanted to get off and
get drunk. After being
processed at Lackland Air
Force Base and six weeks
of basic training, I was im-
mediately assigned to the
base finance office. Other
than the Captain who was
the Finance Officer, I was
the only GI in the office.
That was really a year of
mild enjoyment as most of
the other employees were
civilians. Many of them
were of Hispanic descent
and were wonderful to
work with.
When the squadron was
assigned to Korea, we were
loaded on a troop ship in
Corpus Christi, Texas.
When we entered the
Panama Canal in the early
morning hours, I stood on
the deck in awe up to when
we exited the final lock
into the Pacific Ocean.
While on board, those of us who worked on finance
records were assigned to
Officers Quarters rather
than having to sleep on
beds hanging in the bay of
the troop ship. And while
on assignment in Korea,
the Finance Office was the
only actual building on
the base as the rest were
in tents. After the tour of
duty in Korea was com-
plete, I was assigned to the
Finance Officer in Eglin
Field, Florida.
Upon earning my
Forestry degree from
Auburn and landing a job
with West Virginia Pulp
and Paper Company, I was
assigned to a field office
and was able to type all
of my field reports. Then
when I opened the Forestry
Management Company in
LaFayette, typing was an
asset.
Now when computers
flooded offices around the
globe, I was completely
at home on the keyboard.
Most of the the older
crowd still use the HUNT
AND PECK system.
As you can see, my
stupid decision to learn
typing, where girls embar-
rassed me with their skills
and my buddies called me
a Sissy, became a BLESS-
ING in later life and I am
grateful.