Flashback Friday: My First Computer

I’m a Mac person. Have been for over twenty years.

I’m also old enough to remember life before computers.

I was a college freshman when I beheld my first personal computer. My dad brought home his new pride and joy, a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. I remember oohing and aahing as I watched him show my sisters and me how it worked.

The following year I took a computer class in college. I learned how to program on punched cards. Yup. True story. It had a happy ending, too. My program actually ran.

My first exposure to an Apple computer came in 1988 when I worked at my husband’s school. I had a part-time position helping prepare the accreditation document, working on an Apple IIe computer. It wasn’t all that different from the computers I’d used up to that point, but I was impressed with it nonetheless. It sure made my job easier.

In 1989, I saw my first Macintosh. A friend had one and gave me a brief demo. I didn’t know what to make of that funny thing called a “mouse,” and the way he could click and drag things to the “trash” was a bit mind-blowing at first.

A year later my hubby and I bought our first computer, the Macintosh Plus pictured below. That little piece of history is still sitting in Gwynly’s classroom. In fact, he started up the trusty computer yesterday to take this photo in preparation for putting it on Craig’s List.

Once I experienced that first Macintosh, I was hooked. I’ve worked on a Mac ever since. I typed this post on my desktop Mac with its 21-inch screen and sleek aluminum keyboard. I’m looking forward to getting a iPad 2 soon. Yes. I’m an Apple fan from ‘way back. 🙂

In Memorial

Because I’ve benefited from the brilliance of Steve Jobs, I was moved when I heard that he lost his battle with cancer this week. What an inspiration he was, and what a mark he left on the world. My life has been made richer because of his. He will be missed by many.

• • •

What was your first computer, and when did you get it?

Do you remember the first time you saw a personal computer?


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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19 Responses to Flashback Friday: My First Computer

  1. bethkvogt says:

    Commodore 64–that was my first computer. I remember the gray screen with orange font. And I got a dot matrix printer to go along with it that made a horrible noise whenever it printed out stuff for me. But, hey, it beat using my typewriter.

  2. This post, in memory of a great man, was a beautiful sentiment. It will be a sader place without our very own Thomas Edison or as some called him … the DaVinci of our time. It took me a very long time to get my first computer, although I worked on one as a research assistant at Columbia and seeing my computer deficient self, they sent me to classes to learn. My first was not an Apple and although I’ve heard many artists and photographers rave about them, I have always worked on the PC. The Mac is what my daughter used for her graphic art classes and she is determined to set up her work on one.

    My first was in the late eighties, not exactly on the cutting edge 🙂 A long time ago my daughter sent me the link for Steve Job’s commencement speach at Stanford in 2005. It was the first time he publicily talked about being adopted and his battle with cancer. What remains with me to this day is what he said about loving what you do. (I must paraphras) … “never stop looking for what you love because there is nothing better in relationships or in life than to know that you have found it …” Thanks for remembering him 🙂

  3. Steve Jobs will be missed.

    I remember first using a computer in the third grade. The disks were actually floppy then, and were stored in linen type envelopes. Remember OREGON TRAIL? That was my favorite game!

  4. Erica Vetsch says:

    We had a Tandy from Radio Shack…with the cassette drive and monochrome monitor. I can still remember the data stream sounds from that cassette. 🙂

  5. Marsha Young says:

    My husband also had a Radio Shack TRS-80 and he loved it! I first saw a pc on TV, but the first time I used one was in an office, where we were “going high tech” – although that still meant I had to run down the hall every time I wanted to print something. We had four computers, but only one centralized printer. 🙂

    Steve Jobs did, indeed, leave a mark on the world. Good post. …Marsha @ Spots and Wrinkles

  6. My first computer was an IMSAI 8080, followed by a Commodore PET and then Apple II. Computers were not called personal computers then–they were referred to as hobby computers fueled by a whole culture called computer hobbyists. At the time I worked at SRI International in Menlo Park as a Research Engineer. In 1979 I became the key researcher in a project contracted by IBM. Can you guess what that project was about? That’s right I was involved in the development of the IBM Personal Computer.

  7. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I used Apples in high school and as a personal computer in college back in the mid-80s. When I graduated from college in the early 90s, I took a few steps back in time as the newspapers I worked at had these old systems. The Apples changed over the years at various newspapers. Fun memories, but I’m happy to have the iMac desktop system now.

  8. Great post, Keli – – and I’m glad you mentioned Steve Jobs. What a brilliant man and what wonderful impacts he’s had on SO many. May he rest in peace. ~ Our first computer was an Apple (I think?)—my husband bought it in the early 90s—but I was so busy with 3 young children that I hardly used it. And I’ll admit—it made me a little bit nervous. Then one day my husband told me that I wasn’t going to break it, so after that I relaxed whenever using a computer and have done much better! 🙂 Several years ago I had to take a difficult computer exam (all teachers in Georgia had to either take a course or pass the exam and be exempt from the course). Since I had such a busy schedule (and no time to drive across the county to take classes) I went ahead and took the exam (I was a nervous wreck that afternoon). Amazingly, I passed with a good score! (and almost fell out of my chair when my Principal told me!). I decided the Lord had helped me, because I’d figured there was NO way I was going to pass. 🙂

  9. Mary Curry says:

    Keli, the only non-Mac computer I’ve had was my first – an Atari. It’s been Macs all the way (except for one that was a Mac clone) and I’m also typing this on a 27 inch iMac.
    For some reason, the trending topic on twitter the other night that hit me hardest was iSad.
    Seemed to sum it all up.

  10. Susan Mason says:

    Oh, that little Mac brings back memories! At work, one of the upper level secretaries had one and I didn’t. So I used to finish my work , so I could go help her on her little Mac. I taught myself how to use it and I loved it. Used a Mac until I got laid off from that company, then had to teach myself to use a PC at home (my husband’s computer) to type my resume, etc. That’s all I ‘ve used since then. Now because everything is on a PC, I’m scared to switch back to a Mac.

    But my kids have I-pods and an I Phone and my husband wants to get an IPad. So we are multi-lingual users!

    I agree with you, Keli. The world has suffered a great loss. A bright light has been snuffed out. I only hope someone at Apple can continue his legacy.


  11. In 1992 I went to work at a publishing company, after being out of the job market for a few years. They set me in front of a Mac and said “Have at it.” And it did. So of course when I wanted to buy a home computer that was more than a glorified word processor, I bought a Mac. We are a Mac household, no doubt about it.

  12. Mine first computer was a gateway when I was 24- the first computer I used was in middle school, and comidor 64

  13. my husband and i just listened to steve jobs’ 2005 (i think) commencement speech at stanford here. very amazing what this man did and how he looked at his life up until that point. amazing.

    that said, my dad bought us a tandy computer and i used to monopolize it for hours typing my “stories.” it had a dot matrix printer, with the perforated sides that you had to tear off before turning in papers at school, etc. the floppy disk system was what killed me….to play one game (my favorite was $100,000 Pyramid) you had to put in no less than 4 floppies! how far we’ve come….

  14. Martin Shone says:

    My first computer was a Commodore 64, that lovely beige brick. I remember learning the language BASIC and Machine Code, and typing it all in and even making the screen go all sorts of colours and sounds. But thankfully they have evolved, waiting ages for the cassettes to load Oh no couldn’t be doing with that.

    I couldn’t afford a Mac, so I’m typing this on my new, shh … it’s Microsoft …:-)

  15. Love, love, love my Macs! Although two of our married children have PCs and I can use them, the rest of us have had only Macs right from the beginning and I wouldn’t switch for anything. I think it was somewhere in the mid-1980s that I got my first computer… an Apple IIc. From then on I went through a Mac Classic, Mac Plus, eMac, two iMacs, iBook and MacBooks… that makes eight, I think, and my husband also has his own iMac at home. I ran a home-based business that depending on Macs for years, and since retiring am happy to be writing and browsing on either my iMac or MacBook.

    The early death of Steve Jobs is such a huge loss to so many people. His impact on technology will be felt for generations to come.

  16. I shouldn’t comment late at night! That would be “… depended on Macs.” 😦

  17. Lisa Jordan says:

    Steve Jobs leaves behind a legacy that changed so many lives. He had vision and a personal passion to share that vision with others.

    I’m a Mac girl now after seeing Deb Raney’s and Colleen Coble’s MacBooks at ACFW in 2008, I think. My first experience with a computer was computer math class my senior year of high school. I used the computers in my college computer lab with their “amazing” word processing capabilities. Hubby and I bought an HP as our first home computer in 1999. Since then, he’s been loyal to HP. When I finished Nanowrimo for the first time, he realized I was serious about this writing thing and bought me a laptop. That trusty laptop died, and I replaced it with a Mac. I will never go back to a PC as my main computer again. I love my Mac. I’ve contemplated getting an iMac, but I love the versatility of my MacBook. Yesterday I played with my niece’s iPad. Now I’m considering one because it can benefit both of my businesses.

  18. cynthiaherron says:

    My first computer exposure experience was at college. Back then, they all seemed so daunting (and even now, as you know, Keli, I still find techy stuff a wee bit challenging. 😉 )

    Our children joke that in another 10 yrs what we recognize as today’s computers will seem like dinosaurs! Ahhh, life in the fast lane!

  19. Julie Nilson says:

    I had a Commodore 64 that attached to our TV, which served as the monitor. The games came on cassette tapes, and there was a device that looked like an old-school tape recorder that plugged into the computer so I could run the games. To pause the game, you actually paused the tape!

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