My Dad and the Word Processor by
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My dad was knowledgeable and proficient in so many areas,   we thought of him as a Renaissance man.  (See Saying Farewell to a Special Guy,   Six Pack)

In fact during the last few decades of his life he was even writing his memoirs,  not with an eye to publication but for his own satisfaction.   He’d write a chapter in long hand and then type it up on his trusty old Underwood.

Then when word processors had all but replaced typewriters a few years before he died,  my sister and I had the bright idea of getting him one so he could type,  edit and save as he added chapters to his opus.  And we solicited Josh,  a neighbor’s 12 year old kid who liked my dad,  to help him learn how to use it.

My dad,  stubborn as usual,  said he was perfectly happy with his old typewriter.   But begrudgingly he accepted our gift,  thanked us,  and promised he would let Josh teach him to use it.

Whether the kid did or not,  I don’t know.   But visiting my dad some time later he admitted that after all he liked his fancy new electric typewriter.

“Good dad,  but remember it’s not just a typewriter,  it’s a word processor.   And you must admit that being able to edit and save your memoirs is great!”,  I said.

“You mean I can edit and save?”   he said.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!
www.WorldThruBrownEyes.com

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Characterizations: funny

Comments

  1. Marian says:

    That’s hilarious, Dana, and really cute. In about 2000 I bought my parents an iMac with the idea that my dad wouldn’t like it and my mom would take to it. While my mom loved the design, to my surprise my dad started using the word processing program. He was always amazed when I showed him capabilities he didn’t know it had, like changing type styles and sizes. That was fun. Unfortunately he died about 18 months later, so that ended the exploration.

  2. Suzy says:

    Sounds like Josh didn’t do such a good job of teaching, or else your father wasn’t listening. Did he ever save his memoirs on the word processor after that?

    • I don’t know what went on between my dad and the kid, and no Suzy I don’t think he ever used the word processor to do anything but type!

      After he died my mom gave the “manuscript” to my uncle who was a professional writer in the hopes he’d edit it, but after awhile he gave up!

      And now I have them in a drawer and it’s sweet to flip through them every now and then!

  3. John Shutkin says:

    Great little story, Dana, with a terrific punchline. A real “mic drop,” as they say. But, like Suzy, I tend to blame Josh if he didn’t pass on to your dad that sort of basic information.

    • Thanx John. After both my folks were gone we sold their house and lost touch with Josh’s family. Now Josh must be a 30 year old digerati, maybe working for Google!

      But truthfully had he taught my dad to edit and save on that new word processor, I wouldn’t have a story!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    Sometimes it IS hard to teach an old dog new tricks, Dana. But at least you have that precious document from your Dad. It must be wonderful to have that record of his life, regardless of how long it took him to type it all out.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    I can so relate to this Dana. My father used his computer to look up information, but when I tried to show him he could write/edit with it, he said no way because he couldn’t figure out how to set the margins.

  6. Wonderful story, Dana. Personally I wouldn’t be too hard on Josh, though. If your dad saw the WP as a fancy electric typewriter, then so be it. He enjoyed it just that way. Big question, though: did he try to use white out for corrections?

  7. Wonderfully warm story, Dee…and you always nail that last line!

  8. Great story, Dana. After you answered his classic question, did he ever edit and save his docs? Or did he return to his Underwood once again?

    • Thanx Charles, I’m pretty sure he never did use the edit and save features, but I think at least he continued to use the word processor to type.

      I now have his very long ms in my desk and one of these days I may even finish reading it!

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