I went to my 25th High School class reunion yesterday evening. I've not seen much of my best friend from High School, since I've been busy raising two children, and he's been working on his PhD. We ended up spending the whole evening catching up. He had taken a tour of our school campus and remarked about how much had changed. When we were there, physical security amounted to a laminated ID card with our photograph on it. Now, students at our old school carry swipe cards they use to gain admittance to classrooms. Our school was pretty forward-thinking for it's time. In the early 1980's, a local family endowed the school with a couple of dozen TRS-80 Model I computers, and the school made a 1/2 credit computer science course mandatory for graduation. When I graduated, typing classes were optional, and of course, they were taught on typewriters. Now, I suspect students are turning in a good part of their homework electronically on laptop computers. It'll be a few years before my children attend High School, and I'm trying to imagine what their educational experience will be like.
I had a few other rememberances from those years:
- The heavy metal band, Pantera, was a local group, and they played at some of our school dances. I don't think Darrell Abbott had his 'Dime Bag' nickname back then.
- I worked two summers to get enough money together to buy my first computer, an Apple II. The computer solidified my "geek cred" for years to come, and was the first of many computers I bought over the years. The summer job wasn't bad, either. I worked at an appliance sales and repair shop, and that skill has come in handy many times over, now that I'm a homeowner.
- I heard my first demonstration of a Compact Disk player the summer before my senior year. I've written before about what a music and stereo nut I was (and still am.) I still remember hearing Boston's "Don't Look Back," and Carlos Santana's guitar on "Nowhere to Run," during that CD player demonstration, and I remember clearly how breathtaking that level of sound quality was. It made me wonder what people thought in prior generations when they heard an Edison Phonograph for the first time. I went to work straight out of High School, and bought a CD player as fast as I could (in the summer of '84,) and bought the first in-car CD player (summer of '85.)