Keeping in sync with the times

Another great article from that’s a wonderful read!  Loved hearing about how Etta Freed Lerman rolled with the times, embracing computers, having a ball & having a darn good time as a writer who spanned amazing times!  Most of all, I enjoyed her love of the mechanics of typing:

From the Roosevelt to Eisenhower administrations (1930s-1950s), our home was headquarters for Philadelphia’s Democratic 20th Ward.  My father, an attorney, party leader and later a magistrate, was the ward leader. Like statesman and printer Benjamin Franklin, he designed his own political mailings.

Our dining room was a hub of activity; everyone in the family helped out, along with typists hired by my father. As a child, I worshipped them, sitting at their feet, marveling at their fingers flying over the keys and delighting in the clickety-clack of the old standard workhorse. Typing on a keyboard today, it’s hard to imagine what a difficult chore it was back then. It was through these working women that I came to appreciate the skill of typing.

When my father started his own business, Mom became his secretary, typing out his letters, bills & responses to vendors’ invoices.  I loved to hear the sound of her striking the keys, the DING! of the carriage return.  To this day, I love using a manual typewriter.

Got a bit teary, reading, “Beginning with my first job in 1943, when I was 16, I have always enjoyed the independence that work offers.”  Brings to mind Mom’s story about Ellen Lear, her best friend in the universe.  She & Ellen became great buddies when both worked at Strawbridge & Clothier’s, an upmarket department store in Philadelphia.  Both of the worked in the Book Department, which back in those days was remarkably comprehensive & hosted regular visits by the top writers.  Mom had heard about a business course offered at a local college.  She would have loved to have taken the course, but the Depression that dashed her dreams of getting a teaching degree put it beyond her reach.  But she knew Ellen’s parents always encouraged their only child to reach for the stars & noted that it seemed a good fit for her friend’s skills & interests.

Mrs. Lear always thanked Mom for that advice.  Ellen took the course, got a job with a top-notch Philadelphia firm representing the interests of a major Texas family whose ranch was only slightly smaller than the King’s & had business holdings around the world.  The wonderful news is that Ellen would rise to be a Director.  The sad news is that it necessitated her move to Texas, which just about broke their close-as-sisters hearts.

So many wonderful memories of Mom & of a special friendship that touches my heart as much today as when the two ladies were jabbering on the phone!

How does Etta’s story touch YOU?


Author: auntdeev

playfulness coach, life enthusiast & general instigator, ENTJ, cat lover

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