I continue to be eternally grateful to the friends who (mostly) dated their notes. This one was written towards the end of our junior year by a friend whose father worked the majority of his career for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, commuting daily from Herndon to downtown Washington, D.C., and traveling all over the world as a matter of course. In fact, he was one of the scientists originally tasked with researching the effects of increased methane on earth’s atmosphere in the late 1980s–so, naturally, we told everyone he went to Africa to study cow farts.
This is the typewriter referred to in L.’s note:
You can read lots more about IBM Selectric Typewriters here, if you like.
At the risk of sounding like my father, who’s known for starting childhood stories with, “When I was your age, we had to walk five miles to school every day barefooted, uphill both ways, through ten-foot snow drifts . . . ” I ask everyone under age 30 to imagine, if you can, learning to type on a machine similar to the Selectric II, only it did NOT plug in, AND you had to manually return the carriage with your left hand at the end of each line. That’s what we got in 10th-grade typing at Herndon High School in the early 1980s. When I think about that, at one end of the spectrum, and texting on my iPhone at the other end, I get a little freaked out.
I also want to make note of L’s final line, “At the tone the time will be . . .” Did you know you used to be able to call a local phone number, and a recording would tell you the current time? You could do this pretty much anywhere in the U.S. This service was only fairly recently discontinued in southern California. But the National Institute of Standards and Technology, based in Boulder, Colorado, still offers time-of-day service at 303.499.7111. Give it a try!
L.’s Bonzo Home
123 Independence Ave
The Big Wash, DC 11234
May 19, 82
9 Lust Lane
7th Heaven USA
This may be the most official letter you ever get from anyone so, hold on. As I type you are enerting upon the time of 8:26 AM this very muggy morning. I am enjoying the fine comforts of my daddys neato office, typing upon a cool to the max IBM Selectric II typing device and I am making mega mistakes, but you will not be able to see all of them thanks to the expressly adanced technological designing of this fine device.
So, how is Bronze Boy? FINE as usual? I thought so. Did M. stay all day or just til she wore out her welcome? I thought so. See, I have been thinking alot lately. I’m sure you thought so, too.
We lost our game last night, 20-29.We really sucked royally last night. So many errors, I only hit one grand slam(drag) and two singles. I was off (o-ops).
Lets see what other exciting information I can relay to you. How do you make those cute little soldiers? !@#$%¢*()_-+=qwerytuiop ½¼asdfghjkl;’zxcvbnm,./, well I can’t seem to find the right keys to make little soldiers. I am making even more mistakes, and I don”t feel like correcting them, cuz I have been typing for one hour and fourty five minutes. I typed up the program, for my mom’s recital tomorrow night,and now I am typing to you.
Do you know what they want me to do? I didn’t think so, well they want me to answer the tolophone!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, you read this correctly, the BIG TELEPHONE.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It hasn”t rung yet but when it does I will probably have a massive coronary. So , watch out cuz I will just pass out. I cannot handle the pressures of every day telephone calls. Suey, every time I hit the correcto key I make the same mistake again. Gaswear.
Well ,I thank you for the fine attention you have paid, and have a nice day.
At the tone the time will be 8:48 and 40 seconds ……………. BOING ……….
Sincerely as always,
Photo courtesy covingtoninnovations.com