MECHANICAL TYPEWRITER – THE OKINAWAN CONNECTION

 Howard Keylor, a long-time user of San Lorenzo Library, sent us this photo and text. We use it with his permission.

Attached is a photo of a very old Underwood mechanical typewriter.  This is the same kind of heavy duty klunky typewriter that I learned to type on in 1939 and that later I used  in the army during World War II.  One had to really lean on the keys with a heavy impact.  When I began trying to use an electric typewriter and later a computer keyboard it was very difficult to adapt to a light touch. 

 I was the only male student in my high school who was permitted to take a one semester typing class.  Just before the Battle of Okinawan I was pulled from the infantry and assigned to 10th Army Headquarters because I could type.  Very few young recruits could type at that time since the gender roles assigned typing to “girls”.

 Most of the men I trained with went into the 96th Infantry Division which suffered 50% casualties in the first month of the battle of Okinawa.

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