1981: Reading the newspaper on a home computer

In 1981, I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I remember that was the year I had to take Biology and we dissected things. I was thoroughly grossed out by one, I think it was a cow heart or something, that I had to leave the lab. Even the worm made me sick to my stomach. Most people at 15 don’t have any idea what they want to do, but I knew for sure I did not want to be a doctor. However, I did have to make some decisions about my education that year. New York State has this really screwed up system called Regents. In order for me to get a Regents diploma, I either had to do a “sequence” in something. Or take all these other classes. The other classes included science, like chemistry or physics. Um, no. Math like higher math past advanced algebra like calc and stats. No thanks. Art? No way. I can’t draw a stick figure. My brother can draw. Should have seen this thing he drew on his cast when he broke his leg. Music? I can’t sing. Really. That’s an ugly noise. And I took violin for five minutes. When the instructor said I had to practice over the summer, I was like, dude, I go to summer camp all summer and it wasn’t band camp.

So, I opted for a sequence in Business/Marketing and joined the DECA club (Distributive Education Clubs of America) not to be confused with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), which was what Tom Cruise was doing in Risky Business. Way back then, I remember the distinction between the two was  the kids in DECA were cooler!

1981 Pittsford Sutherland DECA Club members. Can you guess which one is me? LOL

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But this did set the ground work for me and my love affair with technology and Marketing. Now, when I say marketing, I’m talking more market research kind of stuff. Had to do a focus group project that was a lot of fun. But my biggest fascination was computers. Not the hardware side, the software side. I remember every time a new version of something came out I wanted to be the first one to have it. I’ve been working with this new program to build websites and they have a beta version of the next edition and I’m already using that one. Its freaking awesome.

But I digress.

I learned a lot about the possibilities of future technology and what it could mean to the world. We actually discussed in one of my classes the possibility of reading on the computer in 1981. It was sparked by a news report about the internet. I saw this the other day and the memory came flying back. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Only problem, no cartoons or pictures back then. It also took like 2 hours to get the entire newspaper. Imagine those dial up costs back then!

I guess the internet is my generations airplane? Wonder what it will be for the next generation.



  1. I’m terrible at guessing young/new photos. So please tell us! In my mind, you’re either the cutie lounging in front of everyone with a confident smile, or your current smile has blossomed from the more reserved girl with all the dark hair who is sitting in the front row 2nd from right. Or is that pretty “boy?” in the Oakland jersey really a girl?
    I grew up in New York, too, and I’ve come to have great regard for the Regents system as a valid means of testing (newly-retired teacher speaking here). Indiana could sure use something better than ISTEP, which changes every few years like a chameleon.

  2. You mention the internet is our generation’s airplane. My kids are teenagers now, but some years back on of them said to me, “Mom, how did you look stuff up before the internet?” Palm to head. “It’s called the library!” And recently a friend’s son did a research paper on Dale Carnegie. The information, at the library, was still on microfiche! She had a good laugh when she heard that. She said to him, “Just wait till you see this.”

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