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I was probably born after Dick was born but before he made it to sixth
I remember Sputnik, "duck and cover," 19-cents-per-gallon gasoline, Jack
Paar, penny candy that actually cost a penny, Elvis Presley's (first?) hit
-- Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog," and phone operators who could connect me
to my friends. (A typical conversation with the operator: "Hi, Audrey. How
are you? I need to talk to Tammy about our spelling assignment." "Just a
sec. How did you do on your History test today? And how's your dad doing on
the church wiring?"). The joys of living in a very small Midwestern town
(population 1,200 or so).
And now that I think about it, why was it OK for us to call phone operators
by their first names? Every other adult on earth was referred to as
Miss/Misses/Mister/Pastor Lastname or Aunt/Uncle Firstname. I don't think I
ever met one of the operators; I just talked to them on the phone. Or maybe
I *did* meet them somewhere but didn't put together the "Mrs. So-and-so" and
I was in my first year of junior high, at home with tonsillitis, when JFK
My first work-related computer experience was with an order-entry &
manufacturing system for industrial heaters and cooling towers. I took
orders, punched in the specs on a typewriter-like thing (NCR machine) that
punched out inch-wide pink paper tape, which was then used in the
manufacturing process to cut metal to the proper dimensions for that
My first home computer was a trash-80 Model 1, complete with cassette tapes.
And VisiCalc for bookkeeping. I swear I could enter a simple formula and
some values, then go cook, eat, and clean up after a meal while I waited for
it to do the calculations.
I celebrated the day when we upgraded to a TRS-80 Model 3. Then my first
XT/AT/286 machines cost several thousand dollars each, but were necessary
"tools of the trade" for my first freelance editing business. When we got
the first 486, I couldn't imagine anything faster or whizzier. Oh, and did I
mention modems -- from 300 to 2400 baud over the years.
So I'm probably about the same age as Dick, plus or minus a year or two.
I was born in February of 1952. So that makes me "39 with a whole lot of
Marci Bethel, Staff Editor
RMB Editorial Services
mhbethel -at- rmbeditorial -dot- com
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