On Eagle's Wings

On Eagle's Wings
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daddy and the Typewriter

My Dad's birthday was this past Sunday. He would have been 88.
Daddy was a shy man, and somewhat backward in some ways
because of his upbringing in the hills in Arkansas,
but he was a faithful and loving father to us.
It's not about his character that I am reminiscing this week
(his character and values were always very transparent and very high),
but I am thinking of the day (way, way back then and long ago,)
he brought home from the local pawnshop
a "gift" for my sister and I.

(ok this is not an actual pic of our typewriter.
This is a pic I took of FDR's typewriter when we were in NYC
Ours wasn't quite the antique this is ;-))
"I bought this typewriter for you girls. I want you to learn how to type.
Before you get married, you will need to get a job,
and I want you to be able to work in an office."

To a reader in 2012, that would seem
a very "male chauvinist statement and way of thinking."
But my Dad, the son of a sharecropper in Arkansas,
was brought up in a time and place where you worked the farm,
married and raised children, sent them off to a little one-room school
that went no higher than the 8th grade,
and said children then followed that example, repeating the cycle.

After his service in the Army during WWII, he married my Mom
and began to work the land as his Dad had before him.
They then moved to Oklahoma hoping to better themselves.
He worked for a steel company in Tulsa that built oil derricks.
Weathering the heat and the cold out on that steel daily for over 30 years,
he knew the hardships of manual labor and,
while that never would have been our lot as females,
he wanted us to have an easier time of it than he and Mom.

A high school education was what Dad believed would see us through
until the day we married
because sending us to college was beyond their means.
So each year when we made up our school schedules,
we were encouraged instructed to take
"every business course that our high school offered"
because he believed we would receive the
equivalent of a business school education.
This was a much better hope than for the females from his hometown,
as jobs were not only scarce, but limited to such as the local dime store,
canning factory, or chicken factory.
(These jobs were not dishonorable, but there wasn't much future in them
not to mention the ickiness of tearing chickens apart daily).
I will spare you a picture of that!!!!

So I submitted to my Dad (MOST unwillingly, I might add).
I DID NOT want to learn to type, the typewriter was a HATED OBJECT
and I really could not explain to you why.
It is a mystery to me, but, a very strange thing happened
in Mrs. Sweeney's typing class as I typed aaa, lll, sss, kkk,
over and over keys clanking against the typewriter ribbon.
Return - DING!! ;-) 
I began to win the speed tests again and again.
It then became a competitive thing to me.
(What is even stranger to me now is that our children learn this "skill"
at such an early age now that it makes me laugh that I was 15
when I learned to type and was so proud of myself.)

Shorthand, office machines, business law, etc. all became classes that I loved
and excelled in bringing much higher my average in school than before.

So where am I going with that?
I am so thankful to my Dad that he had the foresight
to want me to learn how to take care of myself in life.
Being hired right out of high school by a company
which hired me strictly for my skills
(there was no job open at the time I applied,
but the VP told personnel that they "should not let a 'girl' like her go.")

My experience led to much better jobs and learning as I went until a later time
when I would be trained as a paralegal for the law firm I worked for.
As I grew more mature, my desire for learning increased
and I began to take classes at the local community college.

But, more importantly, there came a time when it became NECESSARY
for me to support myself.
And when that time came, I had experience and stability so that
I didn't have to scramble around and try to find where I belonged.
The position that I was in at my time of necessity was a springboard of learning
for other opportunities to come in the future.

Thank you, Daddy. I believe with all my heart that the Lord guided you to "gift" us
with a simple little machine that would be a tool to gain access to resources
so that we could "gift" others with even better things.

One last thing about this little typewriter.

I taught my sweet Mom how to type on that typewriter.
She had to leave school at age 16 to help on their farm.
So after raising her kids, she studied to get her GED
and worked for many years in the Education Service Center
and with special need students in one of the high schools.
She was so proud of her achievements and loved going to work
and the interaction she had with the youth.

You understand that pride more when you know
before she married my Dad she was employed:
Yep - chicken factory and canning factory!


Nonnie said...

I realize this is very long. Just had my Daddy on my mind.

Shelly said...

What a touching, loving story so full of love. I am moved by what that typewriter represents, and what a wonderful family you have.

NanaDiana said...

Nonnie- Our youthful stories are almost identical. Your Dad and mine sound a lot alike...except my own father was much older when I was born. But, the uptake on schooling & job experience is identical. Blessings to you- I can tell you miss your Dad and I miss my own even though he has been gone since I was 21. xo Diana

Melanie said...

Nonnie, that was a loving tribute to your father! You have written things that remind me of my own sweet Daddy! You were blessed to have such a good man for a father!!! Thanks for sharing!

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

What a sweet tribute to your Daddy -- I sure remember taking typing in my freshman and sophmore years of high school -- never my favorite course but a skill that has served me well over the years.


momof3girls said...

Your daddy sounds like a hard working man who provided you love, support, & hope for a good future. With hope anything was possible.

yaya said...

What a wonderful post. I took all business courses too because I was told by a high school counselor I wasn't college material...then I went to college a year after high school and was a 4.0 student. I was always encouraged by my Dad too...he was wonderful. Your Dad sounds like a really good guy and a loving father. Your tribute to him is so touching. It's funny how the Lord works in our life if we let him! Have a good weekend!

arkie said...

Came here from Sweet Tea! Your dad sounds a lot like my dad! Really! My dad grew up in AR, served in WWII, married after the war, moved to Tulsa, worked for Bethlehem Steel Co. until they went on strike. He also bought me a typewriter (turquoise!) and wanted me to do well in school. Sad to say, I was rebellious and did well in school but married young and didn't go to college. Thanks for sharing your memory!

818carrie said...

You have wonderful memories of a loving father that not everyone was blessed with. What a gift from God. Times have changed but that vision of your father for the future of his daughters is something that men today need to have for their children. This is a great testimony that shows how to leave a legacy. It touched my heart!

Susan mccoy said...

I love that story and the way you tell it! Manual dexterity is a gift that all three of you have!

Anonymous said...

This was awesome! Thank you for sharing it with me!

Anonymous said...

Loved it! Thanks for sending me the link.