Do it totally – or forget it!

Notes from Alexis: Well, it is so funny reading about the “New” computers of the world. It will make you smile.


Dearest Lex,

Well, I’m going to try to bring you up to date on the great computer adventure. Once again, let me tell you how frustrating it is trying to work with ‘non-communicators’; in this instance ‘Dear Old Dad’.

I called up and told the gal at the college that I wanted to sign up for computer classes (adult literacy I think they call it). $65 for five weeks – Mon. and Wed., two hours each, and a free night on Friday to practice on an Apple. That figures out to $2.00 an hour, which seems pretty reasonable to me. I told Dad about signing up, but not about the new computer at your place, (one thing at a time I figured). He was noncommittal, so I rethought it, and decided to wait until a later session; so I called them up and said I couldn’t make the class. Then you called, and I decided to go to the library and investigate computers.

When I told Dad, I had cancelled the course, he got a little testy with me, and said he thought I should have taken the course. This set me back a little. I couldn’t figure it out; and all of a sudden, “I was the non-communicator.”

Finally, after some careful and exhaustive digging, I found out that he believes his shop will go total computer in a year, and he needs to know how, from ‘Ground Zero’ up. He figured if I went to school; I could teach him, and maybe even help him set up his parts list on it. Further, he thought our getting our own would help him because he could practice here at home. Still, all this came with grunts and groans, and monumental silence, and with a lot of guesswork on my part. I did, however, jump into computer research with a vengeance.

You know me – ‘Do it totally or forget it’! I found out that ‘Kay- Pro’ has the best deal for ‘po folks’ like us; and certainly the best beginner pack, software wise (which is the best way to go). Pick the software and get a computer to run it. Not only that, but KayPro has local service and been here the longest, two or three years, I forget now, but longer than Apple or IBM by a year or two, and they are nice folks too. (Oh boy, if she could only see the future)

By waiting a month, I can get their cheap set – Kay-Pro 21 – with a built in modem so it can talk to another computer (as in the Internet). This will be a big savings. Okay, so I’m up at the computer store talking about computers, and then I went back and paid the nice lady at the college for the course, again.  This was because I didn’t have enough guts to call her again, and sign up again, but I’m getting a whole lot of ‘nothing’, from Dad.

I have decided to get credit through the computer store, (10% down and $75 a month) because I get a credit card, and can buy other things on it at the store; and because I have a theory that they love you more, if you owe them, than if you don’t. Once I get the computer, and feel sure I’m okay with it, I’ll go to the bank and get a loan.

Now here is the capper. Last night Dad asked me when I was going to get started buying the computer!! He said he thought I better get on the stick. Well, actually, I’m on top of it all, and pedalling as fast as I can, or should, but imagine him being impatient. I tell you I was shocked. He has turned over from hating the mere thought to being excited about it. I can see the day when I’ll have to beat him off with a stick.

The thing is, I think he has been scared about his job. He couldn’t figure out how he was going to work and learn at the same time. Now he has a chance at some one-upmanship. When they lower the boom, he can be on top of it and tell them what he needs and wants. J. of course is envious. He started out with Radio Shack ThS-80, a cheap model; and then has added things piece by piece. In time, he will end up spending as much as me, but TRS-8O is not all bad. If he can learn how to do it, he will be able to do a lot. We will not, however, be able to talk to each other on our computers, because his is MS-DOS, and mine will be CPM.

Have some fun some day, and go to the Kay-Pro dealer, and get all their brochures, and then go to the library and get the books that will tell you what all the funny numbers and letters mean. You might just as well, because you will be online with me someday. Good lord, I’ve spent all this time on ‘computerese’. You better learn the language because you’ll be hearing a lot of it. You’ve survived bridge, weaving, and writing, so why not ‘computer’?

Talk about an emotional surge; you called, and I jumped up and went to town, and haven’t come down yet. I’m soaring at 30,000 feet. There is just nothing like a new interest to keep your red-blood count high.

Well, I have to run. I’m going to babysit little J.