June 18, 2011
’76 – ’79-ish.
1) Mrs. Carroll (Editor of the weekly she inherited it from relatives before her, sold it to the the publisher in Corning, a decade before I started working there)l: Rick, you’re fired!
Me: Again! Why this time?
She: You turned the air conditioner thermostat up to 78. (This in the middle of the gas crisis in the late 70’s when we were trying to conserve.)
2) I relearned to type, without watching my hands, at a vo-tech class in the evenings, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
3) We got a new typesetting computer. It had one “direct console” where you could feed information directly into the machine (This is where I did advertising copy). Everything else was done on “punch-tape” keyboards. When type was set, I set the “tape” on a reader where it was “read” by the machine and it set type onto photographic paper through “filmstrips” of fonts, in perfect columns that were developed and fixed by the computer. It was a big computer, but small for its day, the size of say, a refrigerator. Columns came out of the machine ready to cut and, after feeding through a gizmo that coated the back of the strip with sticky wax, stick on the paste-ups of each page.
4) I was taught by a high-school, part-time employee, to develop black-and-white pictures in the dark-room. This is most delicious. I remember standing in the cool-completely dark, feeling the opening of the camera, removing the wide-format film from the Yashica. Peeling off the paper by feel, threading it into a spool that fit into a canister, pouring the chemicals into the top of it. Turning the knob by every count of 30 or so until some minutes were done. Hanging the film to dry. When it came to make prints, under the red light, making one that wasn’t quite right and having learned and practiced, Cropping, “dodging” out certain areas for a little more light or a little less, depending. I loved that dark, cool, quiet space, working on something I knew I could make better.