Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peek in the Past--Yay for Pitman's!

We lived in Hale, Cheshire,  England for the rest of my years at home. Gradually, as I grew through teenage years filled with school activities (homework, sports, and exams), childhood dreaming gave way to more adult activities like dating, going to secretarial college, and job hunting.

I have to admit, grammar school was a happy time for me. I didn’t want it to end, but at the same time, couldn’t help feeling excited at the freedom ahead , and getting away from rules and regulations (or so I thought).
The first thing I did was join a drama club. It seemed like a natural progression from creating stories to actually living them. My acting wasn’t very good, and I had trouble learning lines, and projecting my voice, and keeping a straight face; but apart from that I really enjoyed myself. I was in several shows, either backstage or onstage, and learned more about life during that time than any previous year.

My mind opened to areas I’d never before considered. Unfortunately, not all of them were good. I learned about different lifestyles, viewpoints, ethics, and behaviors. I also learned not to judge, not to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, and not to believe everything at face value.

This maturing process continued long after leaving the drama club, and laid the foundation for some core beliefs that eventually brought religion into my life—a story for another post.

Secretarial college in Manchester was not my idea of fun. Book keeping was part of the curriculum, and since mathematics in any form froze my brain, I was always bottom of that class. Learning to type on those heavy old manual typewriters was another pain. But I’m grateful for the experience. It for sure came in handy when I began serious writing much later.

My saving grace was Pitman’s shorthand. At that I excelled. Those cunning little shapes caught my imagination and I soon learned to write them fast. The only problem was translating them back—an important skill if anyone was ever going to hire me. I doubted that pages of squiggles would impress, no matter how fast I wrote them, if I couldn’t type them back equally fast. It all came together, eventually.

And so I became a secretary, ready to explore the world. America was as far as I got, but more about that another day.


CL Beck, author said...

Fun post! I never learned shorthand, but it always seemed like a handy thing to know.

And it was nice sitting with you at the Cedar Fort Author's Dinner!

Anne Bradshaw said...

You too, Cindy.Wish you lived nearer. You're such a cheery influence.

Braden said...

I really enjoyed reading that, Anne. You have a nice gift of making it feel very real.

Anne Bradshaw said...

It was real all right. A tad more real than was good at times :-)