Right: Our XT, sometime in the '80s
It's a peaceful morning here in my son's Austin home, where I currently have the second floor all to myself in a comfy chair by a window. Nancy and Jeff are in separate rooms downstairs, doing separate tasks on their laptops—we seem to be a family of six: three people and three laptops. We—Nancy, Jeff, and I—all enjoy each other's company, but we also enjoy our electronic company. Last night, Nancy and I tried to remember each computer we've ever owned, going back to the 1980s, and we couldn't. We started with a Timex T-1000, on which I taught myself enough BASIC programming to display "Hi Mom" on the TV screen we used as a monitor. There were the Commodore 64, the RadioShack TRS-80 (known irreverently as the Trash 80), and the IBM PC Junior, which was the first computer we could actually do anything productive with. I wrote my first freelance articles and my first novel on it. There was a plug-in cartridge with Lotus 1-2-3 that Nancy used to manage our finances.
We've had various XTs, at least one 386, a bottom-of-the-line Pentium 60, and...and...we lost track of them all. As we lay in bed the night of Valentine's Day I reminded her of the monitor we once had that caught fire when we plugged it in. After all this romantic pillow talk we fell asleep, visions of gigabytes dancing in our heads.
Gasp! My "family of six" reference neglects our two cats, who didn't come along on this trip. I apologize to both of you, George and Gracie. You mean more to us than any electronic gizmo.
By the way, this morning I uploaded the February issue of The Internet Review of Books. If you love good books, you will love this website. Please check it out.