It was the 1960s and that is when I learned to type, by rote.

“It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you are willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy, author and inspirational speaker

It was the 1960s and that is when I learned to type, by rote.

My teacher, the late Miss Jenny Ellen Cardinell would have it no other way. (She was actually married, but back then nearly all female teachers were addressed as “Miss”).  

Learning to type in Miss Cardinell’s class was a mechanical course of procedure, fixed and without thought of the meaning. One must practice and learn by repetition, she would say.

She was right. Once one knows how, one never forgets.

We may get rusty, but we always know how to type.  Just like riding a bike.

For instance, if someone asked you to type a practice phrase on a computer these days, what would you type?

If you are of a certain age, I am betting that you would type this sentence without thinking about it: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

In my high school typing classes, and no doubt many of yours, students practiced typing by producing pages and pages of such phrases and completing exercises that emphasized mastery of punctuation and numbers. And most importantly, where the letters and numbers were located on the keyboard.

We became highly proficient at the typing method known as QWERTY.

QWERTY is the universal nomenclature for a typewriter keyboard and comes from the first six letters in the top alphabet row, the one just below the numbers and the configuration spells ‘QWERTY’.

We probably learned that definition at the time, but if you were like me, it really didn’t sink in much.

We also learned the history of the typewriter, which we promptly forgot.

Such as, that C.L. Sholes was the inventor who first built a model keyboard in his machine shop in Milwaukee in the 1860s.  And later, a certain pattern of keys was introduced on the “Type Writer” in 1872, a clumsy device by today’s standards.

That original keyboard was designed to improve speed by determining frequency of letter pairing.

Decades later in 1978, Remington Company, an arms manufacturer, made the only major modification to QWERTY – adding a shift key.

Few changes have been made since to keyboards.

Amazingly, they got it right from the outset.

And so did our typing teachers who taught us much about life when all we thought we were learning was how to type.

We learned to be accurate, work quickly, correct our mistakes at once and to never do sloppy or shoddy work.

We learned to commit to mind, soul and heart the first words we ever learned to type: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

It occurred to me how relevant that simple typing exercise is today. Perhaps in this crazy world of ours if we practiced what we learned in typing classes so many years ago, the world might be better for it.

So, I have resolved to type that phrase more often and to remember its advice in the days ahead.

The easy part is I already “know” it by heart.