By: Laura Walton AFC®
Today she would be Ms. Sanders but 50 years ago she was Miss Sanders, my typing and shorthand teacher. Honestly I hadn’t thought about her for a long, long time – why would I – but, curiously, today’s world events have brought her to mind.
I can picture her. Middle aged, short and a bit stocky, carefully combed hair, comfortable pumps and always dressed in a very conservative skirt and suit jacket over a plain shell top. I took typing and shorthand because my parents told me to. Their thinking went like this – you’ll get married and then, if you get divorced, you’ll have something to fall back on – you can be a secretary. I dutifully said the 1970 version of “whatever” and took the class. Yes, those were different times.
I didn’t love the class but can brag that I learned to take dictation at 80 words a minute and can still type at lightning speed. The language of shorthand is long forgotten and I’m sure Miss Sanders would be shocked to know that I remember her to this day.
Here’s the thing. She started every class with a story. Nothing particularly memorable but always a little encouragement – something she’d experienced recently or happened to a friend or something from her days of working in an office. Very mundane. But it set the tone for the class and, rather than gritting your teeth for another mind-numbing hour of typing and shorthand, it made an important difference to my outlook. I admired her for doing this simple thing that made me think, okay, she’s right, let’s just get through this and make the best of it.
You can see where I’m going with this. We’re under stay-at-home orders for the next 30 days if not longer. For some of us working at home is very manageable. Others, not at home, are at risk on the front line as essential employees. And still others have lost their jobs and incomes. We need to invoke Miss Sanders with an encouraging thought each day, just enough to get us through to the next. Not sure I got an A in the class but the semester ended, finally, and this will, too.