Monday, May 31, 2010

Confessions of a Retrophiliac

I like the word "retro".  I throw it around sometimes, as do many others. Hanging out in Vintage Underground gives me pause to contemplate the word: RETRO. Often people talk about the definition of "vintage" or "antique", but I never have gotten into a discussion of what "retro" means. I had a sense of the word,  but never really defined it. So I looked up the dictionary definition: of or designating the style of an earlier time: retro clothes. Boring definition, don't you think?

But I enjoyed reading what Wikipedia had to say -- here's an excerpt:
... most commonly, “retro” is used to describe objects and attitudes from the recent past that no longer seem “modern.” ... Different from more traditional forms of revivalism, “retro” suggests a half ironic, half longing consideration of the recent past...Today it is often used in a positive sense, referring to quirky or attractive products that are no longer available... A love of retro objects (things from the past) is called retrophilia.

I didn't even know that retrophilia was a word. After reading that, I had a light-bulb moment. I came to the realization that I have to admit that I am a retrophiliac! I believe this is a chronic condition and that there is no cure. Anyway, I don't want to be cured.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Old School

Back in my "wonder years" everyone in my junior high had to take typing class. After all, we would be headed to high school next and would surely be required to type several papers every semester. That was back in 1969, but I can still remember Miss Sandor (we didn't have the term "Ms." yet) and her blond bee-hive commanding the 300 fingers in the class. We had special typing books designed to stand up on a desk where the pages turned vertically over the spine. The daily practice started off as simple exercises to acquaint our 13-year old brains with the key layout--there was no such thing as "keyboarding" back then and most of the students had never typed at all before the class. The sound of thirty kids hitting the keys on thirty typewriters filled the room. It started out with stupid stuff like: ddd kkk fff jjj ggg hhh and go on and on and on with gradual progressions. I don't even think we typed a complete sentence until after days of familiarizing ourselves with key locations, shifts, tabs, margins etc. Remember there was no DELETE!  And in typing class we were not allowed to use the coveted "Korect-o-type". That was a powdery white sheet of paper that you place over your error. You backed up your typewriter, positioned the correcting paper, and re-typed your error, forcing the white powder precisely over the black ink. Then you had to back up again and type the correction over the mess. You couldn't really ever hide a mistake very well. That's why we had to practice so much!

We did all these mundane exercises ad nauseum. Once in while we had a fun little surprise. It didn't take that much to make us happy in '69 when life was simpler and everything took a long time and nobody even realized that it was a long time...but I digress...back to the surprise....We would get to a page in our book with kind of a secret code...(ooooh, cool) The directions would say something like "Line 1: type x 32 times, type y 3 times, type space bar 8 spaces....etc etc. Gradually a picture would appear on the paper, made from the shapes of the letters. One day we all typed a portrait of John F. Kennedy. Wow! That was a good day in typing class.