Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eldon Gran ~ DHS Typing, Shorthand, Business with Penmanship Appreciated

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Eldon Gran was an excellent addition to the DHS teaching staff. The hunt-and-peck did not last long in his classroom. He inspired both boy and girl students to excel and many beyond their self thought limits. We had to type on old upright mechanical typewriters with the QWERTY key boards that did not have n-key roll over. For the younger generations, that means the key bars clashed and stuck when multiple keys were depressed at the same time. The more keys, the bigger the mess, and more time taken to get back keyboarding. You had to reach in and un-stick the mess. It was a demanding correct words per minute typing output and the clock was running. All typewriters were left handed. In those days we did not have a "enter" key. A carriage return was a physical action to reach up with your left hand to the big chrome lever and push the paper carriage clear to the right. Man were those typewriters heavy and noisy!

I forgot to mention you had roll the paper in manually, correctly aligned, and if you were lucky at the top of the page to start typing. The timing started with a sheet of paper next to the typwriter. Elapsed time, sweat, and jangled nerves seemed partners. Girls were smarter and could use their hands better. So they could type faster!

Shorthand is now a lost mysterious art form of personally formed squiggly marks that only the writer could decipher and Mr. Gran too. It too was a planned correct words per minute timed event. It improved if you had a photographic memory. Few boys ever ventured into the shorthand pit as their brain and hand movements were from a different planet.

I think there were other business classes but most of us preferred to have a tooth pulled, Latin or other painful subject options. Lucky for me Latin become an option before Mr. Krug could put my feet in the fire. I must add one short observation about Mr. Krug. I am now convenienced that he knew or suspected every bad thing or mistake each of us ever did in high school. You know that eye in the triangle on the dollar bill? Mr. Krug posed for that. Mr Gran also had one that worked in the back of his head . . . gotcha!

After I graduated, my Mother and Mr. Gran were teachers together out in the Ellsworth School System. By then we were family friends. I then saw him as a open and hilarious person. He had a marvelous sense of humor and could describe the events of the day in a unique way that always made you laugh. To our sadness, he died unexpectedly and our families lost touch.


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