A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Born in the Shadow of the Computer (Part 4)

English: Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4P
English: Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4P (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
       Prior to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge I had started a series about the influence of computers on my life.  The series begin with my own frustration about computer problems I was having at that time.  My computer woes were addressed in time for me to be able to make it through the April Challenge, but the story now continues as I arrive into the 1990's as a true computer novice.  If you'd like to start the story from the beginning you can go to my post of March 9th and then proceed through the two posts after that one.  

        The used computer that my father purchased in the late 1980's was probably an IBM model that had been outdated by newer computers with the earliest versions of Microsoft Windows technology.  The computer worked very well for someone who knew the language of the computer.  My father took courses and had learned the basics and a bit more. 

        I knew nothing but how to bring up Tetris and a few other games my father had showed me.  If my father wasn't at home or not working on his machine, he allowed me to use the computer.  I scheduled my life as much as I could to be able to play on his computer while he was not using it.  The arrangement worked just fine though I was learning nothing of real value about computers.  My dad offered to teach me a few things, but I had no patience for that and didn't see much value in it.

        Then something rather ironic happened.  After running through a couple of unsatisfactory jobs that I'd taken after having stopped traveling with the theater company job that had kept me on the road for many years, I found a job that seemed a bit more reputable--I went to work in a Radio Shack store in Alcoa, Tennessee.

         A big product push at Radio Shack at that time was with their line of computers.  I was walking into a job where I didn't know much about any of the products and probably least of all the computers.  New store personnel were given special training classes about operating the computers, but I didn't understand any of it.  I'm not sure if my mind was stubbornly resistant to new technology or if I was just dumb when it came to things like computers.   I was probably one of the worst computer sales people they'd ever had in their store.

        Fortunately I had back-up from a couple of other employees who seemed to know more than I did--or at least acted like they did.  Also, there was no huge amount of interest in computers in our store so that mostly kept me off the hook.   Primarily we were selling electronic parts, toys, and sound devices.  I didn't know all that much about those either.  I was not thrilled about my performance as a Radio Shack salesperson, but at least I had a job.   And the upper echelon had their eyes on me as a candidate to be a store manager due to my management experience and a demeanor that suited me for such a position.    Things for me were okay on the job front.

       Sadly, at about the same time as I started my job at Radio Shack, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He was in latter stages when the doctors discovered the problem and he began deteriorating rapidly.  It was not long before he had no interest in his computer.   Since the computer was in the bedroom where my father was most of the time, it stayed idle on the work desk where he had spent so much time.  There was now a sadness connected to computers for me.

         My time was now divided among Radio Shack, my wife and kids, and as much time as I could devote to my parents.   My father was withering away.  If he managed to make it out of bed, he was like a specter sitting in his favorite living room chair.  He would try to eat, but there was no joy in that for him and eating seemed rather useless at that point.  Then he was no longer home.  They moved my father to the hospital and we were prepared for him to die.

         After my father passed on September 9, 1990, his computer sat covered and unused in his bedroom.  I still had to think about the computers at work, but I no longer played on my father's computer.  Somehow it seemed to have died with him.

         Did you ever own or consider owning a computer from Radio Shack?   Have you ever worked at a job that you never really grasped very well?   How old were you when you lost your father or are you fortunate enough to still have him around?

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  1. I lost my dad when I was three.
    I can't remember him at all which is a shame as a girl loves to remember her dad.


  2. My dad died 10 years ago this coming June...I was 38. :(

    I remember I was on my way to Hyannis with $2000 to buy one of the first Apple Macs when my boss called me in to work and I had a complete and utter meltdown. I'd been having trouble w/ my job and hated it. I was real close to suicide at that point. My psychiatrist made time for me that afternoon and I went to see him instead of getting the computer. He asked what would make me truly happy and I wailed, 'I want to move to San Francisco' so he told me to save my money & set a realistic goal and stick to it. That two grand became my moving seed money. I didn't buy a computer till the early 90s, after I was in SF.

  3. Hi Lee .. my typewriting skills (if you can call them that!) took me towards the computer with ease - thank goodness ...

    I'd have loved it if my father had lived longer ... but I was glad to be able to spend more time with his brothers and sister ..

    Cheers to you .. I still don't understand computers - but I'm about to get some help and get to grips with them a little more - I suppose it's the programmes now .. and techie bits and bobs! Hilary

  4. Computers I love them and hate them in equal measure. Too old to have done them at school sadly and I continually feel like I'm playing catch up. It's amazing what help there is in this crazy online world and how many people willing to give that help for nothing more than thanks. That makes the effort worth it and I love passing on tips as I learn them. Here one, I find if there's something I'm really struggling to understand how to do something like putting code somewhere and I google it and inc.the term screenshots I get the explanations with screenshots and the visual explanations help me so much, ditto youtube so much help on there for computer related questions.

  5. I arrived much later to the computer world. I must admit that I'm proud of myself for what I know at this point. I'm no whiz but I can figure things out. If I have Real questions I go to my stepson or one of my two best friends. They are the whizzes.

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  7. Dear Lee, my dad died in 1975 when he was 69 and I was 39. My mom died in 1968 when she was 58 and I was 32. I miss them still.

    As to jobs. I've been lucky to have ones that I could do without much training. That is, except for working as a secretary at the VA hospital during the summer of 1956 when I was working to earn money for my junior year of college. I had to learn to listen to a dictaphone and type as I listened. The doctors who scanned all the x-rays detailed what they saw and I typed it up. Fortunately, the woman who head the office--Lola--was kind to me and taught me how to do this. She could have made my job/life difficult. Instead, she chose to help me. I was blessed in having her as a boss. Peace.

  8. Thank you for all of your comments on this post. This series will continue in a couple of weeks.


  9. Early 30s - Dad passed in 1997...cancer. Tough times...diagnosed and passed within 3 months, only two years after my family had moved to another state. Long distance with his illness was hard. Every time I visited, the change in him was so drastic and frightening.


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