Ruth Stimson        
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The Electric Typewriter

picture Ruth's typed list of 50 year's worth of changes for her 50th UNH class reunion
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One day in 1999, after Ruth inventoried the books she owned - "upstairs, downstairs, and in the cellar; there were several hundred - almost too many to count and list by titles" - she tried to type.

"My elderly, Smith-Corona, manual typewriter keys refused to strike the fabric ribbon," says Ruth. "So I called the store where it was purchased. 'We haven't serviced typewriters for three years,' said a voice. 'You might call this Portsmouth number to see if they can help you.'

"This was done. A male voice there informed me, 'Our fee for examining a machine is $65. If parts are needed and have to be ordered, they would be in addition, if they are available.' Minute by minute the situation became more hopeless. I thanked the man and hung up.

"After sleeping on the problem, I went to Walmart's in Seabrook and purchased a new electronic model. It was a Smith Corona with memory correction. It had many commands, which were new to me. A friend told me that a new ribbon cartridge was needed every 20 pages compared with a fabric ribbon, that could be turned and used much longer."

Ruth did a lot of typing.

In 1990, for example, Ruth developed, and typed, a list of changes between 1940 and 1990, a piece for the Golden Granite Yearbook for her 50th UNH Class Reunion. "Of course, among the changes were three wars, the atomic bomb, cruise missiles and war trials... Just look at the list! Every year brought some changes."

The changes Ruth identified included - frozen foods, synthetic fabrics, clothes and hair dryers, the electric blanket, credit cards, the ball point pen, scotch tape, Xerox, space vehicle with Alan B. Shepherd, Jr. as 1st USA spaceman, space shuttles, penicillin and antibiotics, dual careers, child day care centers, Hawaii and Alaska statehood - and the electric typewriter.