4/9/15

The Point of True Beginning

In another lifetime, I worked as a legal secretary. It was a good job. It paid well. The work was interesting, and I could always find a job. Experienced legal secretaries were in high demand when I worked in the field. I'm not sure how things are now since I left that world in the mid-80's. You may wonder why I'm writing about this, and I'm just about to tell you.

The first attorney I ever worked for was a real estate lawyer. It was a large firm...the largest in Arizona at that time, which meant we had some highfalutin clients and we worked on some highfalutin land deals. Big shopping malls, for example. Big hotel chains. That sort of thing. In my work, I was often typing legal descriptions, and because the legal description of a property needed to be very precise and accurate, we secretaries would get together and read them aloud to one another to be sure that all the measurements, directions, etc. were correct and contained no typographical errors. Keep in mind that during this era, most of us were still typing on IBM correcting Selectric typewriters. In fact, this one here could be the actual one I was typing on back than:


Please tell me you're old enough to remember correcting Selectric typewriters. And if you're not, then shut up.

Anyway, I always loved the precision of those legal descriptions, the words used that are no longer in common usage today. Words like "thence" and phrases like "the point of true beginning". Often distances and angles were measured in minutes. This morning I was doing a little light research about why "minutes" were used in legal descriptions. I had in mind that there was some standard speed at which one would travel for a certain length of time. As it turns out, minutes were used as an alternative to degrees. For example, 360 degrees would represent a whole hour, while 15 minutes would represent a 45 degree angle. Here is a link to an article from the American Bar Association about the standard terminology used in legal descriptions.

A leftover phrase that I've often repeated silently to myself is "the point of true beginning", and that brings me to the point of all of this. In surveying, the surveyor carries a special telescope on a tripod that gives him "the point of true beginning." That's the absolute point where everything originates. And I've reached "the point of true beginning" on the Vintage Tin block I'm working on. (You knew I'd get to there eventually, didn't you?)


You may recall that when I use the Sticky Fabri-Solvy in embroidery, sometimes I have to use multiple overlapping sheets. I always start at the point of overlap to minimize the shifting that inevitably occurs. When I have the entire area of overlap stitched, then I'll start at the far edge of the piece and work my way back to that point. It's hard to see where this one is stitched and where it's not because the unstitched lines are the same color as the floss I'm using. (Imagine how difficult it is to see my own stitching!) I've drawn that line so that you can see what I've stitched there on the right, and what is left to stitch on the left. And, yes, there is still one more area of overlap to work on. I'll do a little more stitching on the trees above the gas station, and then I'll probably move my hoop over to the next area of overlap and stitch that part next.

In the process of doing a little research about legal descriptions, I came across this op-ed article written by a man named Frosty Wooldridge. Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. He has a number of books to his credit. I enjoyed reading his article entitled, "The Point Of True Beginning: Your Perfection." Since I am a person who takes spiritual comfort in nature, his article and its conclusion touched me. I'm linking to it so that you can read it if you like. I liked the way it ended:

When you give your utmost mental, physical and spiritual energy to your personal growth, you discover your own "point of true beginning" just like every other creature on this planet. Trust in the perfection of your master design. Compare yourself to no one; strive for your highest and best; and finally seek your "point of true beginning" every day of your life. It will come to you.

When I sat down here to write this, I was thinking only of "the point of true beginning". It's surprising where these little field trips into the internet can take us. Have I said lately how much I the internet? I certainly never envisioned having such a wealth of information and inspiration at my fingertips back in the late 70's and early 80's when my fingertips thought the IBM correcting Selectric typewriter was the best thing ever.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

QuiltShopGal said...

I not only remember using IBM Selectric machines, but I remember when they first came out and wanting one so badly. Funny that in your past life you were a legal secretary working for a Real Estate Attorney. One of my past lives was an Escrow Officer in California. :)

QuiltShopGal
www.quiltshopgal.com

WoolenSails said...

Wonderful quilts and I can't believe how much you get done in a day.
I am working on mine and finding out that they bunch when you sew them, not fun.

Debbie

Patrica said...

Ah yes the Seletric typewriter and all the up to date technology that it once represented. I loved that thing and it's magical clickity clack. In my past life I once worked for a geologic surveyor and my job was to transcribe his notes for clients. Precision and accuracy were paramount as this information was part of the public record and deeds, land grants, property settlements, wells, foundations, the very fate of the planet depended on my transcription. I loved that job until I didn't. I guess it wasn't my true north so to speak.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I do remember the typewriter, but never used that particular one. Not sure where my 'point of true beginnings' is - food for thought.

Linda M @ Pieceful Kingdom said...

Way back when, I worked for the federal govt and used an IBM Selectric II. It was an exciting day when we upgraded to a MemoryWriter!

Anonymous said...

I remember those typewriters, too! I thought it was so neat that you could change out the little ball and change the font from pica to elite type! So you can imagine how much I like all the fonts that come with computers now.

Teresa F.

Marei said...

I used to love the sound of the bell as I manually returned the carriage of my old reliable Underwood typewriter. Then the IBM Selectic came along and I fell in love with the little whir & click it would make as you typed. AND you just had to hit "return" with the little finger of your right hand! Best invention ever!! As for my 'point of true beginning' I'm wondering if I've gotten there yet. Or will I ever? Food for thought.

CathyC said...

I loved using my IBM Golfball Typewriter, but then I graduated to the IBM Mag Card machine - one of the very first word processing machines - you could store whole paragraphs on these cards, and you put them in and played them - it was such fun watching the typewriter type by itself :)

Sue G Johnson said...

When I went from a manual typewriter to a golf ball IBM I was in heaven! The internet is full of wonderful opportunities. I learned to quilt through the generosity of quilters on forums, who were happy to answer my questions when I was stuck (before YouTube, blogs etc), knit and crochet. It was the means of me meeting my wife. It also allows me to stay in regular contact through Facebook and skype with family and friends in Australia after moving to NC last year. Blogs are right up there with fb and skype, as it lets me read inspirational blogs like yours!

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I too remember when they first came out with the IBM Selectrics ... I longed to have one at home (I've always preferred to type rather than write ... I'm not a fan of my handwriting). My personal "point of true beginning"? Wow ... that's deep and will require much thought.

Jacque said...

LOL It's so funny that so many of us not only remember these machines, but used them SO MUCH! I, too, typed on one, and then was thrilled to move up to the Brother "word processing" typewriter they got me next....I could mess with the text in a tiny window and then it would go onto the page. :)

Auntiepatch said...

Like many of you, I learned to type on a manual typewriter. It was a big day when I got my own Selectric II. Back then it was the "little things" that made us happy but that was a BIG thing. I worked in Accounting for the largest potato grower in the US and pounded out many invoices on that Selectric II. I loved that machine!
My twin sister worked in an Escrow office and knew all about minutes and degrees. Fascinating.

Auntiepatch said...

My twin sister worked in an Escrow office in So. Calif. She loved it.

P. said...

This brought back so many memories. I, too, pounded out many legal descriptions on a correcting Selectric. With practice, if you noted a minor error, you could put your deed back in the machine, line it up just right, and lift the letter off, though it might take a couple of tries to get it exactly right). It was kind of fun to interrupt your coworker to check a description with you (and visit a bit perhaps). Degrees, minutes, seconds, rods, chains, the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of the SE 1/4, and so on. Yep!

quiltzyx said...

I too remember using the Selectric! Since I wasn't a secretary, I didn't have to use it often, but always had fun with it when I did. I really did not like learning to type in HS, not one bit! I am, however, very glad that I did. I know that I don't always use the "correct" fingers to strike certain letters, but it works for me anyway. It's amazing to me that I usually know that I've hit the wrong letter even when I'm not looking at the page too.

Kate said...

Oh, yes. I'm old enough to have had Typing in high school rather than the Keyboarding class that is so common in schools today. I hated typing, but it was the best thing I could have possibly taken when I had to fill out my school schedule. The guys at work who are my age are amazed I can actually type, many of them have to write their papers using the ever famous "hunt and peck" method.

Junebug613 said...

I not only remember using one of these, but actually still use one, the same color in fact, almost every day. We're trying to bring the company into modern times, but it's slow going and you just can't beat the classics. I love the internet and the computer, but sometimes, simpler is better.

Kate said...

I love that I always learn something when I read your blog. (Yes, I'm behind. Catching up!) I'm going to look for that book for my husband, the biker. Bicycle biker, not biker biker. Anyway... I used a typewriter for my college applications, and I was probably the last one in my family to do so. We recently had to look up a picture of one for my older son. I still don't think he really understands - he kept asking about the monitor.