Tag Archives: High school memories

Typing Class

4 Mar


Judy Wills



When I was growing up, my parents had an old manual Underwood typewriter that I used to “play around” with.

Credit Google search

Like the computer keyboards, all the “keys” had a number or letter on them. And while it was fun to play on, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

I knew that my high school offered typing classes, but I wanted to get a jump-start on that capability. So, one summer, I enrolled in a summer school typing class. Now you must remember that, back in that day, summer school was usually for remedial study. That didn’t bother me, however, because I knew I was just doing the class to further myself.

So I started the class. We had the standard, manual typewriters on each desk. However, there were NO numbers or letters on the keys – they were blank! But in front of the classroom – attached to a blackboard – was a chart with the typewriter keyboard on it – with the letters and numbers on each key.


Credit Google search – Pulaski County, Virginia l National Archives


As we began typing, we had to look at the chart – not our hands – to type what the teacher wanted us to type. In that way, we learned to type without looking at the keys or our hands. That has given me a lot of fast typing in all the jobs I held, as well as the letters I have written to friends.

As I was typing along one day, the teacher approached me and asked if he could ask me a question. When I agreed, he asked if I played the piano. Surprised by that question in a typing class, I said “yes.” In triumph he said, “I KNEW it! I can always tell the students who play the piano – they have a different dexterity to their fingering than those who don’t.”

That’s a fun memory that has stayed with me.

Following that class, I went on to take more typing classes in high school. When I graduated from high school, my parents purchased a portable, manual Olympia typewriter for me. I still have it. Here I am, typing my senior paper on my little portable typewriter at my Aunt Jessie’s house.



As I mentioned in another post (please see my post of December 18, 2016 – Out in the Cold), when I went back to work after 20+ years of being a stay-at-home mom, I tested out at 70+ correct words per minute on the computer!. That was a big surprise to me as well as those testing me. During those 20+ years between working in an office setting, and that testing for a new work situation, I had kept up my typing skills. Every letter I wrote home to my family was typed. My handwriting isn’t the best, and typing takes so much less time than hand-writing. So I typed all my letters. That helped keep up my typing skills.

I suppose many of you have seen pictures recently on facebook and other places that show old typing classes. That could have been me in that class! See the above picture!

Recently I had a visit to my primary care physician and for some reason we began talking about typing. She mentioned that people today can tell older computer typers as the keys “click.” That’s because when you learn to type on a manual typewriter, you must push the keys really hard to get it to actually meet the paper. Our wrists are in an up position (that’s a pianist position, as well), and we “attack” the keys.

It’s hard to let go of those habits, you know.

But, as I said – it’s a fun memory!




It’s Music To My Ears

16 Oct


Judy Wills


Seems like I have always loved to sing. I vaguely remember being in the Christmas program in my 1st grade class, and sang a solo. I think it was….Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

I’m sure I sang in the children’s choir in our church. I don’t remember much about that. However, I do remember being in the youth choir in our church. And when I turned 17 years old, those of us that age, were allowed to sing in the adult choir. I was rather appalled to realize that some of those older women really needed to stop singing in the choir! And I made up my mind then and there that, when I got to that age, and if I found myself “warbling” like they were then it was time to stop singing in the choir!

I remember singing in my Junior High School chorus. Back then, Elementary school was 1st through 6th grade. Junior High was 7th through 9th grade, and high school was 10th through 12th grade.

I do remember singing solo’s in church – and not just in my home church, but in churches that Fred and I were members of years later.

But my best memories of singing came about during my High School days. I remember that we had to choose between singing in the chorus (or being in the band if that was our talent) or taking P.E. I chose music.   I was in the girls chorus all three years of my high school.

But there were two other groups within the music at my high school that I was interested in:  All-State Chorus and a hand-selected group they called Dreamers. I had to audition for each of those groups each and every year. The first year I auditioned for All-State Chorus, I had a cold and didn’t qualify. However, the final two years of my high school I was able to be a part of that group. High School choruses from all over New Mexico came to Albuquerque for the concert. We met in the University of New Mexico (UNM) gymnasium for rehearsals and the concert. As you might imagine, the acoustics were not the best, but we needed the space. And since Albuquerque was more-or-less central in New Mexico, it was always held there. What a fantastic experience that was!!



1959 All-State Chorus from my high school


But I think, outside of All-State Chorus, the best thing about high school and singing, was to be a part of Dreamers all three years of my high school. There were 12 of us each year – four voices on each part of a trio. We always had a great blend, even though many of the voices changed out each year, as some graduated. We traveled to sing for other group meetings around the city. It was great!



1959 Dreamers


Our chorus director was Arthur Loy. He was also the director for those of us in the All-State Chorus as well as the Dreamers. He had a great love for music, and his students, and the talent to direct us. He picked great songs for us to sing – some of the old great ones: Night and Day was one of my favorites. I was sorry to graduate and leave his tutelage.




As you can see, music has been a large part of my life. I am grateful.

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Psalm 96:1



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