The Purple Age

A while back I was thinking about some of the changes I have seen in my years of teaching.  As a result of my mind wanderings, I wrote this piece.  It is extremely long, so I decided to post it in installments over the next several weeks.  Hope you don’t mind.  Here is installment one:


          “That woman over there is a teacher.”

            “How do you know she’s a teacher?”

            “Look at her fingers.  They’re purple.”


          Just as yellow, nicotine stained fingers indicated a smoker, purple ditto stained fingers shouted “teacher”.  Today, does anyone even remember the ditto?  What about the ditto master, a three layered sandwich?

          The top sheet was pristine white, unless it sat around for quite a while.  Then it had definite purple undertones.  When writing on it one had to use just the right writing implement.  Too fine a point would make a line that might fade away long before the required number of papers was run off.  Too thick a point and a heavy hand could result in lines and words that were blurred making it difficult for students to read.  How many students have said “I can’t read this” only to be told “It’s perfectly clear”?


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2 responses to “The Purple Age

  1. How about the ditto you typed carefully and when you put it on the roller the person before you had inked the machine up to overflow and that beautiful ditto was a soggy mess. Oh yes, I do remember dittos. I loved the smell of a freshly printed copy but xerox was a wonderful replacement

  2. YES, I remember the ditto machine and I hate to admit this…but I loved the smell of the papers when the teacher passed them out!

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