I Remember ...


... my grandparent's farmhouse when I was a kid - no indoor plumbing (no bathroom or kitchen sink), the well and hand-pump outside, a real outhouse, the wood-burning cookstove, and the wood-burning heating stove in the living room.

... exactly where I was when my cousin Betty taught me how to tie my shoelaces, my Uncle Ted's house (~1944).

... exactly where I was when I first saw television: black & white, 6" wide screen, magnifying water-filled lens in front, at our neighbors the Sullivan's (~1950).

... in 5th grade when I sat next to Jamelia Beasley in her mother's car on the way to Black Oak school, four of us in the back seat.

... when "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and thinking you now had to believe in God to be an American.

... in the 1950's, when we said in the Pledge of Allegiance in school, I would either not say "with liberty and justice for all", or I would add "if you're white".

... the time before electronic pocket calculators, when I used a slide rule in high school and college (1956-1965).

... seeing the first and second Russian Sputniks through a low-power observing telescope in 1957-58.

... exactly where I was when I first heard hi-fi stereo sound - in a college dorm room about 1959.

... operating an electron-tube IBM computer that was still being used at White Sands Missle Range in 1959.

... paying $1.00 for a key to turn on a Black & White TV at a Motel 6.

... how shocked I was when I paid $5,000 for a new car in 1965 (a Chevy Concourse station wagon).

... when starting salary for a software engineer was $8,000 per year, in 1965. Plus, my Mom said "are they on the level"? She thought it was a lot.

... not only being able to drive to Mirror Lake at Yosemite, but finding a parking spot when we got there (~1963)!

... when 32 kilobytes of memory in a mini-computer was a lot (1970).

... when they said someday we'll be using a plastic debit card instead of a checkbook.

... exactly where I was when I first tasted peppercorn ranch dressing, at the Coleman Still restaurant near San Jose airport (~1983).

... the last time we drove on Oakland, CA surface streets, and were paced for a couple of miles on the left by two gang-type blacks (1989).

... when employees were called personnel instead of resources.

... a cop telling me he had a hard time catching up to me. I was in my Trans Am on a mountain road. I had pulled over to go back and do it again (1991).

... exactly where I was when I first heard "Achy Breaky Heart", Washoe State Park, Nevada (1992).

... being the only one with a cell phone at an automobile accident scene, I-280 south of San Francisco (1994).

... where I was when I heard of the 9/11 attack, and my first thought being "Bush is probably reading to school children". He was.

... when LOL meant Little Old Lady, when Litmus Test was only a chemistry term, when Quantum Leap was only a physics term, ...

... when my job at HP/Agilent went to India, I was told "You have been selected to participate in the Workforce Reduction Program". Like I won something.  

More to come ... when I remember.

- Jim Hartsell