52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Technology

This is the first time I’m getting to participate in the 2011 blogging series 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, developed by Amy Coffin of We Tree. This week’s topic is technology:

“What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology to you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?”

The first thing that popped into my head was personal computers. When I was 5, my family got a Commodore 64 for Christmas. It had a cyan-on-blue screen and if you had software for it, it either needed to be hand-typed from a software book or there were cartridges that could be inserted into the back of the keyboard (I had a few educational games like this). Eventually, we hooked up a cassette contraption to it and then a 5 1/2″ disk drive much later on. I didn’t have Atari growing up — this was it.

Well, not long after purchasing the computer, my mom made the mistake of leaving me alone with it. My 5-year-old brain decided it would be a good idea to see what happened if I pressed every single key on the keyboard… at the same time.

The result wasn’t a good one and the Commodore was soon non-operational. My mom finally dragged a confession out of me. She was none too pleased, but luckily, the computer was still under warranty.

However, there was a lesson to be learned here. Mom said she was going to take me with her to the store to return the computer and I was going to have to tell the sales clerk exactly what I did to break the computer. I was mortified and dreaded the trip. I vividly remember standing in line at Juvenile Sales in Wheaton, Md., as Mom started to explain to the clerk that we needed to exchange the Commodore for a new one.

And then, magically, the clerk, no questions asked, just took the proffered destroyed computer and receipt and said “No problem, I’ll just go get another one.” Mom didn’t even have a chance to segue to my confession to the clerk. It all happened so fast that we were walking out the door with a new Commodore in a matter of minutes. “You really lucked out, Missy,” Mom said (not using what was to become my nickname, but more in a “Listen here, lil’ Missy,” type of way).


Another technology that became quite popular as I was growing up was VCRs. I remember the day I came home and Mom had hooked up one in our den. The first thing my sister and I watched on it was a rented videotape of various “Tom & Jerry” cartoons. Earlier this weekend, while surfing IMDb, I came across a series that we used to rent all the time: “Fairy Tale Theater” with Shelley Duvall and various guest stars. Oh my gosh, it’s so weird to watch these now!

Of course, VCRs are now ancient history and I don’t even have a DVD player hooked up right now. I just stream everything. The leaps we’ve made in my lifetime have been amazing to see!


Follow Friday: Old House Dreams

Everyone knows I love old houses. Therefore, I must love Old House Dreams. And how could I not? Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of her list of favorite houses. I track this blog and especially the houses near me that she highlights, but they’re all gorgeous and chock full o’ history. Follow her on Twitter so you don’t miss any!

Follow Friday: Clue Wagon

I wholeheartedly recommend that you begin following Kerry of Clue Wagon on her blog and on Twitter. She tells it like it is and it is usually hilarious.

Recent stand-out posts include her “12 Days of Christmas for Genealogists” and her take on a recent Facebook meme meant to raise awareness about child abuse.

I’m so looking forward to meeting Kerry at Rootstech in February!

Holiday Tidings

I will be taking a sabbatical from blogging this December as I tie up several projects and gear up for the holidays. I wish everyone a happy holiday season and I’ll return with new posts after the New Year.

To tide you over, I encourage you to check out this year’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories by my fellow genea-bloggers (check out my own trip down holiday memory lane from last year). New posts will be up daily, so you shall have plenty to read until I return.

Happy Hols, everyone!