Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

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Happy Birthday...

My father turns 60 today.

FatherSir's been a programmer for ages and ages. He got into computers before there was such a thing as a computer science course. He read punch cards. He damn near broke a variable-speed card reader when he found out that the cards could control the speed. This was after someone told him that there was no way his program could physically harm the machine... after telling an honest-to-gods engineer what he'd done, the engineer looked upon FatherSir and the guy who'd said FatherSir was incapable of harming the machine as two kinds of idiot: the computer safety expert for ignorance, and FatherSir for having tried it, knowing better.

I think I met FatherSir's first computer, once. It was bigger than a refrigerator and it had wheels inside that all this tape was on. It had blinking lights on it and buttons and I was scared of it, because I didn't know what it did: I just knew that it was big and might be noisy and might be dangerous. I must have been fourish.

I "helped" my father install his new air conditioning system for his computers. His office had a zillion of them. He did stuff with them. They were big and they had big monitors and they were shiny. He quit wearing jeans to work when he read something about Dressing for Success and started wearing shiny black boots and black slacks and pale blue polyester shirts (he called them "plastic pants") and discovered that it was better for his computers that he wasn't wearing clothing that shed as much. So after the sharpness phase passed, he still wore those outfits for the sake of his computers.

After a while, they had some grad students move in with him. He had an office, and he'd spent quite some time painting it pale green from the horrid 70's yellow color it had been. (I helped, and my bangs turned prematurely green from leaning against the wall injudiciously.) He installed rows of bracket-supports on the walls, and hung brackets and put shelves on them, to hold his 3-ring binders with all sorts of data and information in them. He hung a wide shelf as a desk, and there were enough electrical outlets for his needs. It was a beautifully organized space, with enough room for everything. He had a fun rocking kneeler-chair, and Narcissa and I played on that for hours and hours growing up...

It took a long and bitter time for him to leave the University. They were phasing him out, giving him less and less real work to do, and he finally (some years too late for the peace of mind of the house) took early retirement. There was a big party.

After he retired, it was a lot more peaceful. He began throwing himself into different projects here and there. He became unofficial stand-in grandfather to many of the local violin, GT, and horse kids. He took up ham radio. He took up the violin. He set up a second workstation at home, with his own computer Galumph, to play with electronic music things. (The kneeler-rocker is still around, sitting in front of either Guardian or Galumph, depending on who's using the computers.) He and Mama started arguing over who got to do dishes and laundry. He took over housework, because he could do it with more efficiency.

That's my father. Interesting guy. More than a bit of a 'character'. He raised me, after all...

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