Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thinking with my Fingers

It's creeping toward 1:00am, and I can't sleep. Just now the silence in the house gathered into a big furry creature and took a seat on my head, threatening to suffocate me. When the dark behind my eyelids divided itself into a hundred miniature checkerboards, I gave up on sleep and came here to think with my fingers.

An article on my home page yesterday suggested keyboards will be relics by 2015. Lord, I hope not. My fingers often know what I think before I do. Who knows how it happens, but stuff shows up on the screen that I have no conscious memory of thinking. I'd hate to lose that. Plus, for what did Mrs. Dewhirst teach me to type if not for this?

Trellis Dewhirst was a formidable woman, tall and square and stern. Her sister, Una Ellison, taught American History. Miss Ellison was a less substantial person somehow—thinner and slighter, with a higher voice and less imposing manner. Miss Ellison brought in a television every fall and let her classes watch the World Series. Yes, Virginia. When I was in high school, World Series games were played in the daytime. I'm pretty sure most fields had lights, but the world had not yet started to revolve around prime-time programming.

Anyway, Mrs. Dewhirst taught us to type and Miss Ellison taught us to appreciate Bob Gibson, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who struck out 17 Detroit Tigers in one 1968 WS game. His record stood for nearly 40 years and may still, for all I know.

I googled around, trying to find the spelling of Mrs. Dewhirst's first name. Came across her obituary and was stunned to find she died only last year, at 93. That means she was 54--the same age I am now--when she taught me to pound out The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Oh, the arrogance of youth. We thought she was ancient.

There's a comfy thought to keep me company in the silence.

6 comments:

Cape Cod Kitty said...

Jerri,
Life is weird, I tell ya....last night I dreamed about our neighbor from my childhood, Mrs Dewhirst, and this morning, I am paying a visit to your lovely blog to accompany my tea, and there you are, revisiting your Mrs. Dewhirst! Whoa!
Happy day as we brace for a big snow storm today....wishing a happy day to you.
M

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I do all my thinking through/with my fingers, too! OMHOG if keyboards become obsolete! That makes me shudder!

Deb said...

These women sound like characters in a Fanny Flagg book. Who names a girl Trellis?

I do love your stories!

Jerri said...

Names are funny in that part of the world. Everywhere, really I guess. Besides Trellis and Una, they had a sister named Minnie. She married a man named Wilborn who was called Bob.

Miss Ellison, who never married, was rumored to have been a concert pianist who came home to Ava after a failed love affair. She lived out her life in a small house in town, teaching history. A couple drunk seniors drove on her yard one time, tearing up her grass. The whole town was ready to tear up those boys. Dozens of people turned up to repair the ruts and make things right.

Yeah, I guess it does sound like something out of Fannie Flagg.

luckyzmom said...

Very enjoyable insomnia stories.

kario said...

Count me in as one of those who needs her keyboard. I love the sound of the keys clicking and the way they feel beneath my fingertips. I love that I can type as fast as I can think (and sometimes faster).

As for typing teachers, I think they have to have grey hair and be considered ancient by their students. Mine was Mrs. Voyles and, while I wouldn't be surprised to find out she's still alive, I'll bet she would still frighten the wits out of me.