HUMANS OF THE PFISTER | NOVEMBER 2016 | A Month of Gratitude | “She Types Like the Wind”
A month of gratitude.
I will be asking Humans this month for three different kinds of gratitudes:
Thanks for something that can fit into a 1’x1′ box.
Thanks for a human or group of humans.
Thanks for a something non-physical—
whether it’s an idea, a value, a force–
as long as it’s something we can’t see physically.
Let me tell you: my wife has been a court reporter for 50 years. She types like the wind, the wind in the trees. She used to type on a Selectric typewriter, but she had to slow down because the mechanisms couldn’t go that fast. So I got her a computer–you remember those box computers, right? That was, say, 25 years ago. But the spaces and line numbers were different than a typewriter. So I finally got her set up to type on it, but it was too slow. It was always two or three lines behind what she was typing and would have to catch up. So I had to get extra memory to help out.
She started court reporting typing manually on a typewriter, before printing and cheap copying like at, not Kinko’s but . . . ah, Pip Printing–remember that? Then you could Xerox at a reasonable price. And she had to use–what was that called? The three pages that would give you three copies of the same–oh yeah, carbon copy. Imagine having to type on carbon paper and then making a mistake on all three copies and having to make three corrections! Although she barely ever makes a mistake. And she doesn’t count in terms of characters per minute. How about pages per hour?!
My wife is the last one at the courthouse that still uses the old stenograph machine. She’s retiring next year, though, since she’ll be 70 years old. Even though she’s been working all this time–and she’s loved it–our life has been interesting and fun. We’ve been married 41 and a half years! We go to different things every day. We’re actually known in Milwaukee as “The Dancers.” Yes, you’ve probably seen us at Bastille Days, right up in the front, dancing. We’re also folk dancers and she’s a belly dancer. And you can often find us on Fridays with Phil Seed, dancing in the Mason Street Grill. They call us “The Mason Street Dancers,” too.
We lived in Bay View for 18 years, then the last 22 years in Jackson Park, but, of course, we’ve been coming to The Pfister for decades because it’s like another one of our living rooms. In fact, we have The Pfister to thank, too. Two years ago, we were here around Christmas. I had had a surgery to fix my vocal cords. One day I just couldn’t talk–and I was a singer! It turns out only one vocal cord was working. Anyway, there was the Narrator from that year, Anja Notanja, who was writing people “Letters from Santa.” And we asked Santa to please give me my voice back. Anja wrote the letter as a beautiful poem that we still keep underneath our St. Patrick statue because it helped give me the confidence to train my voice again. I’ve had to learn to build up to a particular volume so that now–you can hear me, right?