Christian Single, College of Nursing

Learning to Type

Autumn 1968 – Ninth Grade

“Class, place your fingers on the keys under the paper towel and keep your eyes on the document holder on your left while you type. As soon as you hear the bell ring, that means the typewriter carriage is at the end of the line. Quickly place your hand on the carriage lever and throw the carriage to the right as quickly as possible. Immediately place your hand back on the keys by feel. Don’t look at your hands!” said my typing teacher.

So that is how I learned to type. At the end of the ninth grade, I typed 60 words per minute during our daily timings. In my senior year in high school, I took one semester of advanced typing for college and one semester of college-bound shorthand. At the end of the typing semester, I had progressed to 100 words per minute.

With some gift money for my high school graduation, I bought a $50 Smith-Corona manual typewriter in a steel carrying case weighing about 20 pounds. I typed all my papers on it since Ohio State would not accept any handwritten papers. It was quite a chore to correct my mistakes with erasable paper and an eraser pencil or liquid white-out. After I erased the mistake, I rolled the paper around the cylinder to realign it and typed the correct letter.

Similar to the manual typewriter I used in college.

Summer 1974

“…this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)

At the end of my freshman year of college, I asked my parents if I could remain on campus for the summer so I could continue to attend the Bible church. They agreed if I could support myself to pay for rent and food. I went to my boss at the main library and asked if I could work full time during the summer, and she said “Yes!” I rented a room a few blocks from campus for $50 per month with a shared bathroom and kitchen. I rode my bicycle about one mile to the grocery store and loaded my food into my backpack to bring it home.

My job at the library was to type 3″ X 5″ cards with the title, author, and subject of new books and then file them in the huge card catalog alphabetically. The hours dragged as I pecked away and filed. To make it more interesting, whenever I read the name of a country in a title, I prayed for the people living there to receive Christ as their Savior and for the Christians to be encouraged.

The sweet fellowship with the other believers who remained on campus encouraged me in my walk with God. I enjoyed teaching the Bible weekly to Dee, a new believer. The last week of the summer, we held a 5 day Bible club for the inner-city children.

I recorded in my budget book my earnings of $ 856.34, expenditures of $547.34, and savings of $309. I was thrilled to be able to support myself for the first time in my life with a little left over. Truly God always provides.

I typed cards for hours to file in the library catalog.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (KJV)

I used my typing skills throughout my nursing career. From the manual typewriter, I progressed to an electric one. Then I bought a word processor which allowed me to see four words at a time on a minuscule screen a few seconds before they printed on the page.

When I entered graduate school in 1994, I bought my first computer and took a course on how to use Word in an adult education class. I started asking my kind patient friends at church who were computer experts to explain things to me. I was able to type all my own papers in graduate school, including my thesis, rather than hire a typist as most grad students did.

In my government nursing job, I was required to type all my progress notes into the patient’s electronic medical record. I pitied my colleagues who had to use the hunt and peck one finger method. They worked many hours of unpaid overtime to complete their notes. My two typing courses in high school were priceless. I would advise any young person to learn to type as fast as possible.

I recently spoke with Dee on the phone. It was a blessing to hear how she and her husband are serving the Lord among the Navajo Native Americans during their retirement years. I praise God that she has faithfully walked with the Lord all these years since we had that little Bible class together in the summer of 1974.

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