June 5, 2019

News item: On this day in 1977the Apple II computer went on sale, and the era of personal computing began. Developed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it was the first successful mass-produced microcomputer designed for home use.

SouthIn 1977 on June the fifth I was
four days away from
graduating high school
four days from embarking on the
epic journey to now

On this day in that particular year
my friends and I were
saying goodbye
to each other
to life as we knew it
to the place we had known
more as a home than our houses
or apartments

South High School

On this day in 1977 South had one
computer in residence a
large, intimidating IBM that fed on
digested, then regurgitated
rectangular punch cards that seemed
cut from manila folders

One computer
the size of a vintage Corvette
that took up most of the space
in a large room, with a
perpetually open window to dissipate3606999478_42862dd6eb_b
computing heat

Within a week
unaware that the age of
personal computing had arrived
I departed high school
life as I knew it to that point
gifted, by my parents
with a portable electric typewriter
in a hard, textured-plastic case

I took it with me when I left home
just a week later
Greyhound bus, Colorado
home to native Minnesota
the brown Smith-Corona barely
sliding beneath the seat in
front of me, sleek, ridged handle
providing a foot rest-slash-
theft prevention

Forty-two years
thousands of miles
hundreds of radio scripts, resumes,
pieces of correspondence
a thousand poems, three
partial great-American-novel (not)
manuscripts and
lord knows what else
later100_1851 300

The scribing monolith sits retired
relaxed in its case
beneath my basement steps
the stories it could (and did!) tell
clear-cut a small forest
and would probably
if digitized
appear as nothing more
than a stray ellipsis in a solitary
file of a Mac laptop

As we jokingly said in
1977 mock-robot speak
‘that does not compute’
as indeed at the time
none of us did

Ahh, but things change
time flies

So does my laptop.

Mark L. Lucker
© 2019  
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