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Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us WITHOUT.


I don’t know about life after blogs, but I can certainly recall life before blogs.  We didn’t have computers at our desks at work until the early 1980’s.  I didn’t have a PC at home until the mid-1990’s.

seleI worked for a computer company, and all our programmers and systems analysts used computers.  The secretaries did not (the shoemaker’s children had no shoes).  We typed everything on an electric typewriter.  It did have a correcting key – thank God.  When I first learned how to type, the typewriter was a manual one.  It did not plug in, and if you made mistakes you started over again with a fresh piece of paper.  If you needed extra copies, you used a sheet of carbon paper.  Talk about the Stone Age!


If I worked in my current job without a computer, we would file everything with the Patent Office using paper.  Documents would be hand-carried to the Post Office, and we’d use Express Mail to make sure they got to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office overnight.  Included with each submission would be a stamped paper postcard.  The Patent Office would stamp the postcard as received and then send it back to us via U.S. mail.  Instead of the immediate electronic confirmation we receive now, we would have to wait a week or more to receive the returned postcard. If the internet goes down, we still have to use this hand-mailed option today.

commodoreWhen we first married in 1989, hubby had a computer (of sorts).  He had an old Commodore computer, and he was part of a BBS (Bulletin Board System) group.  He used to attend meetings all the time with these geeky guys who were so excited about these new-fangled computers.  They could actually “talk” to each other. The internet as we know it today did not exist yet. “Originally BBSes were accessed only over a phone line using a modem.  Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users, either through email, public message boards, and sometimes via direct chatting. Many BBSes also offer on-line games, in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other” (Wikipedia.org). Hubby had the earliest computers, and he learned how to use them early on. I never wanted one. I typed all day long at work.  When I got home, I wanted nothing to do with typing!

overheadWithout computers, I talked to friends on the telephone or in person.  When I wanted news, I picked up the local newspaper or I turned on the television at 6:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. to catch the local newscast.  If I was taking college classes, I got in the car after dinner and drove to the school where I sat in a classroom with a roomful of other students. We listened to a real live teacher give a lecture where we took notes using pen and paper.  We took tests on paper.  We read textbooks, watched the teacher give presentations using either a blackboard or an overhead projector.  When we had homework assignments, we had to do our research at the local library.  We drove there, too, and we looked up information in huge reference books.  We took notes by hand or we paid to make copies of pages we needed for reference.  When we wrote up our papers, we either typed them by hand on the typewriter or we hand-wrote them.

Charlotte pic

Charlotte Library


old Gates Library

Without computers, libraries and reading were even more popular than they are now.  I spent most of my childhood following my Mother around libraries.  One library was the Charlotte library. The downstairs sections were for adults, and they were boring to me.  The upstairs was the children’s area, and I loved going there. My Mother always let me pick out 3 or 4 books to borrow (usually Dr. Seuss or some other picture book).  We also visited the North Greece library. At the time they were located on N. Greece Road in an old store. It was a narrow building packed full of paperback books. It looked more like a used bookstore.  I think my Mom’s favorite was the old Gates library.  That was a little farther to drive, but my Mom liked it because they always had the newest books.  After we visited the Gates library, we usually stopped next at the old Hostess bakery outlet that used to be near the corner of Buffalo and Howard Roads.  (Mmmmmm.  Hostess cupcakes).  I have some very special memories of visiting all those libraries with my Mother.  She taught me to love and appreciate books.  I remain addicted to books today.

Books-06Life without computers was different.  In some ways it was a lot more fun.  We didn’t have the instant access to news or the instant access to games, social media, blogs, etc.  We also spent more time with people.  We left the house more often.  When I was home, I spent my spare time with my nose in a book. That was my entertainment.