Computerversary

Today is my computerversary!

February 11, 1986, I got my first computer.  It was a KayPro. 

I had written three books by then, all in long hand.  I had seen a word processing program displayed at a writers’ conference a few years earlier–along with its staggering price tag–and all of us conferees had laughed our heads off.  Writers, pay that kind of money for a glorified typewriter?   Puleeze!   

Then I got a call from a writing contact asking if I’d like to co-author a children’s reading textbook for a Christian school curriculum.  Would I?  I’d love it!  Only one problem…  My final draft of book #3 was due on the editor’s desk and it still had to be retyped.  On a typewriter.  All 275 pages of it.  So, with tears in my eyes, I passed on the textbook opportunity.   To make bad worse, when I finally finished typing the manuscript–after typing all night–I decided to give it one final look while I grabbed a bite of breakfast.   Yep, you guessed it.  I spilled a glass of tomato juice on my freshly typed pages.  Aaarrrggghhh!

“I’m buying a computer!” I told my husband.

“It’s not a good time,” he said.  “Computers are getting better each year, and less expensive, too.  Wait a year or two.”

“I can’t afford to wait!”  I said.

My KayPro was portable. (Well… luggable, actually.  It was like a sewing machine).  But I loved it.  So did my son, who quickly became adept at the prehistoric games on it and wore out the space bar. 

Later on, when I determined that I needed two disk drives instead of just the one, I ordered another one from a parts catalog.  When it arrived, I dug the smallest screwdriver I could find out of the junk drawer (and a dime for the spaces too small for the screwdriver’s handle) and installed it myself.

I had that computer until our house burned down.  But we spent many, many hours together, that KayPro and I.  It taught me so much!

Oh my, how times have changed. 

Some of you will say:  “You remember before computers?” 

Some of you will say:  “1986?  That was before I was born!” 

Some of you will say:  “Hey, I remember my first computer, too!” 

But I think we can all agree:  “Yea for computers!” 

Except when they don’t work.  Then I miss my typewriter.

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”
Willa Cather

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Computerversary

  1. Mari Strom

    I always love hearing this story 🙂

  2. Oh, yes! I bought my first luggable Compaq in 1983. Hello weekend office work! What was I thinking?

  3. Marilyn

    I remember those “portable” computers, too. The computer has sure come a long way, and it’s exciting to think of how it will continue to change. Thanks for the memory, Kay!

  4. Oh, Kay, can I relate! I got dragged kicking and screaming into the computer era–didn’t want to give up my IBM Selectric, which is what I used to write my first book EONS AGO! But now? Oh, I can’t imagine writing anything without a computer again. Congrats on the new blog, my friend!

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