The very first computer I ever used was in high school in Massachusetts. They had punch cards in our classroom. Or maybe we didn't even get to use the computers. I forget. The punch cards were only for names, addresses and phone numbers.
Above is an example of a punch card from the 1960s. From Computer Desktop Encyclopedia. The Computer Language Company Inc. 2000.
The next one was in Andover, Massachusetts at a company called Spectrametrics in 1977 until 1978. I had to use a phone to connect to the mainframe in Boston. I typed in the information and it was saved as bits and bytes to a tape drive first. I think this one was only for names, addresses and phone numbers too. It was very tedious. I didn't use another computer for some time.
This shows an example of a phone receiver on top of a modem all ready to communicate with a mainframe computer. Back in the day computers took up entire rooms.
Our first personal computer that we owned was a Commodore Plus 4, some time after I married Bert and when Erica was 7 or 8 years old, when we lived in Fairfield, Iowa. We bought it in autumn of 1989. My sister had a Commodore computer and we thought this was the one she owned. It was not. It was a fine computer. I liked it. It had a TV screen for a monitor. It came with a tape drive. See below. It also came with a dot matrix printer. We found an ad in the paper, went to look at it and purchased it. My husband wanted a computer to make address lists. I read the book that came with it. I would type letters to my parents on this computer and print them on the dot-matrix printer. It would spell-check, but it took a long time to do so. I also did the address lists. I didn't use it for very long.
A tape and a tape drive. It was very slow.
Below are a couple of cute short videos from the 1980s showing a Commodore Plus 4 and a Commodore 64 computer. For now turn your device sideways to view these. None of the videos on this page are by me.
I don't remember any of this color stuff. Or the games. But then we only used the Plus 4 with a black and white TV. And we only used it for a few months and then got the C64 below.
Our second personal computer was a Commodore 64. THIS was like the one my sister owned. Cute video above. I read all the books that came with it and all the books that came with any software we bought for it. I loved it! I loved reading about how to use it! The C64 came with an amber monitor. Or we bought one. Eventually we bought a color monitor for it. We got a disc drive for it also. It used those black floppy discs.
Me in 1991 with the Commodore 64 computer and a lunchbox computer we owned at the time
I have particular fond memories of the Commodore 64. Yes, it was slow. But I and my daughter and my husband used to play games on it. Plus we used to find ads in the classified section of the newspaper where people were selling these computers. We would make sure they worked properly and then put another ad in the paper and offer to show the buyers how to use it and sell it for more than what we paid for it! What fun! My sister and I had a program where we typed letters to each other, put them on a floppy disc and then sent them to each other. It showed what we typed as we typed it, even mistakes and stuff. It was like a little video. It's kinda hard to explain. I wish I could watch some of those from my sister again. It was fun! I also bought a program called GEOS (Graphic Environment Operating System) for the C64 which made it look like a Mac computer. It was a graphical operating system. I loved typing into that! Even though it was slow. It was all I knew at the time. You can Google that.
Above is the screen from my Commodore 64 computer in 1990 showing the GEOS Operating System.
The Commodore 64 computer was very popular in the 1980s. They sold around 25 million units. This was before the Internet. What did we do before the Internet? Well. We played games and did the other things mentioned above. The games were around 50 bucks each so we owned only our favorites. I also typed and did office work. And there were bulletin board services where one could chat with other computer users. My brother was the very first person who emailed me and who I emailed back!
We never bought any Macintosh computers - they were called Macintosh back then, not Apple. They were expensive! I'm happy we didn't. We are perfectly happy with IBM personal computers and now Dell computers running Windows.
We owned many computers around 1990 and so. One of them was an Epson QX10 with an IBM bridge board to turn it into an IBM. It used the black floppy discs too. It also came with a hard drive that didn't work. It had two floppy disc drives. You can Google it. I typed stuff into it but it took forever to spell-check. We played around some with it. We turned around and sold it for more than what we paid for it.
Above is a very short video showing the QX10.
We also got our daughter a Nintendo game machine. She liked that. We might have even had an Atari Game machine at one point. She played games on the computer. She had her own.
A screenshot from a video of our daughter playing a game on another computer we owned. We owned a lot of computers.
Then we moved to New Mexico in 1997. THEN Erica and I moved back to Iowa in 1999. THEN I moved back to New Mexico the end of 2001. THAT whole story and our moves are written about elsewhere. We owned several computers during this time. I don't have pictures of them.
Erica with a computer we owned in 2001 in Fairfield, Iowa. This was our first flat screen monitor!
A Compaq laptop I owned in about 2000 to 2002 or so. I had this one in Iowa. Then I brought it with me to New Mexico, when I moved back at the end of 2001.
A computer I owned in 2002 in Taos, New Mexico. It had a floppy drive and a CD-Rom drive.
Me in my place on Padre Martinez Lane in 2003. My computer is in the background.
A black stuffed witch cat on the keyboard of a computer in 2005. You can see a tiny part of the top of the tower. It has a container of blank DVDs on it. I shared a house with a friend on Kit Carson Road from May of 2004 until October of 2005.
Me with a Macintosh computer I worked on in 2005 when I was a work-study student at the library of UNM Taos.
A Macintosh computer I worked at in 2005 when I was a work-study student and doing my internship at UNM Taos campus.
A computer screen from one of the computers at the library at UNM. I used to create the backgrounds for them so the students would treat them kindly. The library people liked it when the students only used Firefox as a browser.
I moved into my own place in October of 2005. Bert eventually moved in with me the end of 2005 and we got remarried in 2008. Above is me at our house on Don Fernando Street with my computer in 2006.
The blank screen of the computer I used in 2007.
Another computer and a printer I worked with when I was a work-study student at the library at UNM Taos campus in 2008. I was a student from 2002 until 2009. I was a work-study student from 2004 until 2008.
These are a couple of little dolls made from beads and safety pins. My sister Jacqui gave them to me when I visited her and family in 2009 then I sent them to Erica. Erica had created at least one of these dolls during one of our visits. Behind the dolls is a laptop computer I got in 2008. It ran Windows XP.
Eventually I gave away the tower computer. The XP computer eventually quit.
This is my Windows 7 laptop on October 16, 2015. I was at the Taos Public Library. I got it in 2013.
The laptop I bought in 2016 running Windows 10 and my laptop from 2013 that runs Windows 7.
OK. Fine. I got a new laptop computer in December of 2020. Here is my 2016 laptop and my 2020 laptop which is duplicated on our TV in the background. I now use the newest one for streaming videos and playing games.
Just for fun: Here's another screen from our old Commodore 64 computer. Thanks for visiting!
~ Written October 2020; updated December 2020; updated more January 2021.Back to Photo Albums | Back to Main Writings page