Pen, Paper and Technology

Words that just have to be written.

Words that just have to be written.

Al finally bought a new computer because our other one was constantly freezing up. So, just as in the case of getting a new phone, we have to relearn how to use it because, of course, NOTHING IS EVER THE SAME ON AN UPDATED PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY NOR ARE THINGS EVER PUT IN THE SAME SPOT! Ooooops! (Sorry for shouting with my caps….just a little on edge here!) 😐 Why oh WHY can’t a person replace our devices with the exact same kind we had before? Well, maybe this never ending forced learning will keep dementia at bay…OR, God forbid, may even send us over the edge to the blank screen of dementia in our own human mind. Eeeeek!

I remember when the idea of modern technology first presented itself into my reality. In the mid 1980’s, if we wanted to write a letter, we needed to choose between two kinds of writing utensils (pen or pencil).  Then we needed to choose between two different forms of writing called printing or cursive.  Once the decision had been made we would then proceed to write in long hand (remember that antique method?)  This was called writing letters. These days, it is referred to as “snail mail?”)

Some of us could speed along the correspondence process by using our home typewriters. Tap-tap-tap, tappetty-tap-tap! It was actually kind of fun to hear the sound it made when our fingers hit the keys as we put our thoughts down on paper. In the early days of typing, the typewriters had keys with which you had to use a bit of force as you pushed down on each key. As you did so, a long metal bar with a raised letter on the end would pitch forward from beneath the frame and hit against a horizontal ribbon filled with ink. This, then, would would leave an impression of that letter on a blank piece of white paper which was rolled around a roller. You would type until you reached your far right margin and then you would take your right hand, pull on a lever attached to the top right of the machine and pull it to the left.  A little bell would go off when it was brought back into the beginning position.  So it would sound like a long series of tap, tap, tap tappety-tap, (end of line)  ZING!

Tap (D) tap (e) tap (a) tap (r), is how most of our letters began.

As the years passed, typewriters became electric, and the long, slender metal bars pitching forward to form letters were replaced by a little rotating wheel that would pop up and twirl as you selected your letter by typing on the keyboard. One soon learned on an electric typewriter that the touch needed was a delicate one versus the pounding pressure we once use to pitch those keys. It was a miracle, and our speed picked up because the effort required was so much less on this new machine. How MODERN!

Then the day arrived when technology came to the Bussmann consciousness. Back in the day when we were living in S.W. Minnesota, I was talking with my friend Robbie Schoeberl on the phone and she was telling me about this new “Word Processor” she had just purchased. (Do you remember this Robbie?).  She was telling me all about how it worked and the pivotal line that I remember of this conversation was when she said “Juanita….you don’t even have to use an eraser or “whiteout” anymore!!! All you have to do is push this little button that says “backspace” and your mistake disappears!” I was shocked and emphatically responded with “Are you SERIOUS???   REALLY????    It just goes away?” The conversation flowed fast and furious about the marvels of modern technology. Little did we know how quickly the Word Processor would become obsolete and computers would take their place.

Fast forward 30 years and here I sit typing on a keyboard that puts me in communication with friends and family all over the country. Al has moved me many, many times, but because of technology we happily learned that “good bye” didn’t really mean a finality of that relationship.  It no longer meant being mostly cut off from friends and family.

Granted, the face to face, “in person” is always the very best way in relationships, but FaceTime, Facebook, Text, Email, Snail Mail and Phone give us NO real excuse to lose touch unless we are choosing to do so.

It is doubtful that my grandchildren, when presented with a typewriter, would even know what is is. How about those pull string typing erasers?  Would they know what those were?  Are they even made anymore?

The wheel of progress turns quicker than ever as one invention is piled on top of the last in an ongoing parade of “new and improved”.

Well, speaking of snail mail…I have a couple of sympathy cards to write out (in cursive while that art form is still in existence and people can still decipher it). I also have a couple of birthday cards to write. Say what you will about technology, getting a physical piece of mail is still the most pleasurable communication of all. It is so personal because one sees the senders familiar handwriting on the envelope..the color of the envelope…the return address, and maybe even a pretty sticker applied somewhere. You get to savor all this and enjoy it before you even slit open the envelope..(remember letter openers?). There is still a place for these in MY life anyway because I love old fashioned mail.

You can’t wrap a ribbon around a stack of emails.  Well, I suppose you could, but it wouldn’t really be the same, would it?

I have a box of my Mothers letters saved in my closet for times I want to go and see her handwriting and read about the time she is writing about.   I have saved all my children’s cards to us through the years, and each child has a box with their name on it where they are stored.  I have saved Als cards to me and my cards to him.

Now you may say, what a silly thing to do.  Who is going to want any of that?  I don’t really worry about that.  I only know that when I am lonesome for one of my children, I can go to that box and read the cards they sent me through the years.  Sometimes, I will sit down with a cup of coffee and pull out cards and letters from my rainy day box and have a mental visit with friends who cared enough to sit down and write to me.

The physical aspect of writing is still important.  Do I love technology? Yes, yes and YES!  For all it offers to us in communication with friends and relatives, a heart felt Yes!  But, I won’t throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to handwritten correspondence.

On Mothers day, my almost 40 year old son gave me a beautiful card where the inside was once blank.  Upon it he wrote to me his thoughts about me and let me tell you this…I had NO idea he felt such wonderful positive feelings about me.  It is now on my table by my chair and I find myself picking it up to read each day since receiving it.  I LOVE that he WROTE it with pen and paper!  I will keep it til the day I die and when I do, he will find it in his box of cards that I saved through the years.

Once again I have digressed!  Now I shall really go and write out those cards!

JJB/2015

old typewriter

old typewriter

Electric

Electric

Word processor

Word processor

desk top computer

desk top computer

lap top

lap top

pull string

pull string

MAIL BOXSTACK OF LETTERSLETTER

3 thoughts on “Pen, Paper and Technology

  1. Becky Genrich

    Juanita– I’ve just found this ‘gem’😀. I soooo still love snail mail, for many of the same reasons. I share the reality of ‘old fashioned’ mail with my high school students — and wonder of wonders, one of my 2015 grads actually wrote me a real letter, and included 2 pictures even!
    (Don’t know if you remember the Genrich’s or not, 1st Lutheran ppl and our kids shared lots of MHS together! Lisa & Matthew ’94 and ’97 grads. …found this via FB and La’s posts.)

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  2. loeltjenbruns

    Lovely! I so enjoy your writings. Haven’t done as much as I would like in the venue of expression…have been playing with my watercolor painting! That has my passion for the moment. Love to you and Al.
    La

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    1. Busswoman Post author

      You and I are WAY too much alike! Another interest I have is definitely art, but think I will just stick with writing. I hope you take pictures of your paintings and put them on your blog. They would be so nice to see. There definitely is NOT enough time left to do all we would like to do is there????

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