Am I missing something? (Simplified)

Greetings to the group!
My name is d'Armond, and I've just joined the group.  Like many others, I am interested in acquiring the skill of shorthand.  I find that I take lots of notes in my professional life, plus I think it would be fun.
I'm working my way through the 2nd edition (1955 printing) of "Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified."  I'm still fairly early on, but I'm working hard at at.  I find, though, that I am spending a HUGE amount of time trying to decipher the sample outlines for reading practice, and there are many of the outlines I cannot grok at all.  But there doesn't seem to be any reference I can use to find out what they're supposed to mean.  Am I missing a separate text that I need in order to fully utilize this text?  A key, a teacher's edition, something?  Or is this a text of an earlier time when it was expected you'd learn this in a classroom setting, and could ask in class for help?
Thanks everyone!

(by d'armond for everyone)