Tag Archives: Hal

My Franklin Language Master

I have never been a good speller which is why I thought I was not a good writer for many years. It wasn’t until automatic spellcheck that I realized I was a halfway decent writer.

Before automatic spellcheck was a thing, I wrote, but I also misspelled many more words than I misspell today. I was always mortified when someone would call me out on it, like the time I wrote a heartfelt letter to my third-grade teacher telling it was because of her I’d become a teacher myself and gave it to a colleague to read. She said I should not send it because there were too many misspellings. Then there was the time I misspelled negative (I wrote negitive) on a memo to other upper grade teachers and one teacher sent it back, circled in red. They were not wrong in pointing out the misspellings, but I wish they’d been a little kinder, like the time our principal (the one who asked if my second pregnancy was planned — so she wasn’t all bad) said that my note to parents asking for feedback on something we were doing was very will written, but she was pretty sure input was spelled with an N instead of an M. I spelled it like I said it, imput).

In or around 1990, Dean gave me (probably at my request) an electronic dictionary called a Language Master. You’d start typing a word and it would give you suggestions. I could always figure out the right word when I saw it in print, but I could not always see it in my head, then put it on paper correctly. The device also had games, including hangman.

This device came in very handy when I was applying for a teaching position for a public school system. I was given a specific amount of time to write an essay to a prompt and asked if I could use the electronic dictionary. They said I could, and was able to write a compelling enough essay to get me hired, that contained no spelling mistakes.

One of my retirement goals is to go through the mountains of crap in my attic closet which houses several old electronics and dispose of them.

Franklin no longer works. The only thing it displays are vertical lines, that look like a UPC code. I think I know what they mean though:

Display reads "I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dona. Dona, my mind is going.

So the time has come to dispose of my first electronic device. Thank you, Franklin, you served me well.