I grew up with a maternal grandfather who was a lawyer. He practiced in the time when you had secretaries take dictation and type up your letters. He met my grandmother at a typing school, in fact. I wonder if she was his first typist? Anyway, I have some boxes of his legal files with things like triple typed briefs (legal documents to submit to court) with 2 layers of carbon paper in between so that he wouldn’t have to make copies.

As an aside, carbon paper is awful to use. It is a kind of plastic paper covered with blue ink on one side which you put so that the side with the ink is facing down so that the pressure of the typewriter keys (or the pen, if you are filling out a form in triplicate) is printed onto the second and third sheets of paper. The problem for me was trying to get that stuff onto the paper but not onto my fingers (a hopeless scenario) so that I had blue fingerprints over my duplicate copies. Yes, I am old enough to have used carbon paper to make copies when I was in high school. Fortunately my teachers didn’t take away points for the blue prints.

Anyway, my grandpa was also very eccentric. He was not quite as eccentric as his brother, but eccentric enough. I think that bothered my mom, but it led to many quietly humorous moments for me and my cousins at family reunions. I will tell one story here to let you know how eccentric he was, although it isn’t a family reunion story.

Once, when my grandfather was in the hospital, he would lurk in wait for nurses to enter his room. When he heard them coming he would grab his newspaper and turn it upside down and start to read it. The nurses would come in and say, “Mr. Pasch, you have your newspaper turned the wrong way around.” He would look at them with the glint in his eyes that his grandchildren remember particularly well and say, “Well, any old fool can read it the other way!”