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Last month I wrote about my education-induced fear of grammar and the loathing I felt for writing. The story is online at the GT-DH website if you missed it. This is the continuation of the story.

In 1987, enrolled at OSU in a master’s program, I came face to face with the new world of computers. I was enamored with the Mac in the reading lab because you didn’t have to type each page perfectly or use white-out to correct every little. ... Oh, I don’t want to think about it!

Before the end of the first term I bought a used McIntosh for $200. I told everyone I bought it from Michael J. Fox! That was true, ... just not the Michael J. Fox.

I acquired a word processing disk and a graphic manipulation disk. I was on my way.

That little machine and I had a love affair. And, once I had linked the computer-generated information in my brain with the pen in my hand, I was good to go.

I graduated, got a job in a nearby school district teaching kindergarten, then first grade, and then first and second grades together which I lovingly did for the rest of my career.

In the winter of 1994, computers were added to our classrooms. I programmed ours for the kiddos to check-in and indicate their lunch plans. One of the students, recorded the data each day and delivered it to the office. It didn’t take long before the my little document made the rounds to all the classrooms.

Then, came the fall of ’94. I call it, “The year of living with the mafia.” It was awful. No amount of classroom structure could rein in whatever behavioral anomaly was present. By the seventh day of school I was counting the remaining days of school. Nothing I did brought the class together as a team.

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That was the beginning of my writing career. I wrote newsletters every week with notes to parents about what we were doing in class and included parenting tips that I hoped would change the climate of our classroom.

It wasn’t until February that I spotted the little mole. Knowing the ring leader brought the class into community for the rest of the year.

Throughout my career I continued writing those weekly newsletters for parents. The computer gave me my voice, allowing me to get thoughts down in a timely manner, and made editing a snap.

It probably wouldn’t surprise my high school writing teacher that I became a writer, but it certainly surprises me! Nowadays, I just put my hands on the computer keyboard and let the words flow. I call it channeling.

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Dianne Roth is a mother, grandmother, teacher, and freelance writer. She can be reached at: baglady@cmug.com

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