Dad, Mom And Computers

My dad left this world 7 years ago this day at 4:45PM. I think about it every year a few days before, then a couple of days afterwards, then move on with life. It’s an interesting concept, having to “move on with life”, but it’s what all of us end up having to do at some point, right?

My parents were instrumental in my getting into computers to begin with. I didn’t want a computer; I’d never even thought about a personal computer. Back in 1987, I was a musician; okay, more of a songwriter, but a part time musician. I used to sing at weddings, in the wedding ceremony, and it wasn’t such a bad thing. The one thing I always wanted if I was going to be a performer was everyone’s full attention; I wouldn’t play just for playing’s sake, except when I practiced at home.

I used to play for hours at a time. Every once in awhile, I’d be messing around with a motif, and it would produce a song, which usually only took me 30 minutes or less to write, lyrics and all. That’s just how easy it seemed to come to me. Now, I wasn’t popular or anything like that. I didn’t write anything that could have been a hit (well, one song could have been a hit if Lionel Richie sang it; I sent it to his people, but never heard back), so mostly the songs were for me.

Therefore, I didn’t want a computer. I didn’t want anything that would take me away from my music. I didn’t even watch TV back then. I went to work, came home, played, wrote, slept. On weekends I disconnected the phone and played all weekend long; that’s how serious I was.

But my parents were insistent, especially Mom, that I have one. She said it was the future, and I should be there with it. Then it became Dad’s mantra. Finally, they drove here one weekend, as they lived out of town, took me to Sears, and bought me my first computer. It was an IBM, and it had a dual floppy drive; my parents never bought the lowest thing, so that dual floppy drive was the latest thing on the market.

I didn’t do almost anything with it for two years. It was just there as something to take up space. The only thing I did was type up my lyrics so I could save them as a file instead of only on paper; that was pretty smart, I must say.

Two years later, I was at a different job, on a career track, and suddenly the computer meant a lot more to me. And, over the years, it’s kind of taken over my life. I ended up buying my dad his first computer; how about that? I did it so we could talk via instant messaging, using ICQ, and he then encouraged all his siblings to buy computers so all of us could talk that way. It’s amazing that, for awhile at least, computers brought us all together so we could talk more than any of us had talked to each other before.

When Dad got sick, I used his computer to contact everyone he was in online contact with to let them know that they may never hear from him again; they didn’t. It was amazing how Dad had met so many new friends online; I’d never thought he would take to it like he did. He actually was learning how to do HTML long before I even thought about doing it; he didn’t get far, though.

Anyway, I owe my present life, but regular and business, to my parents. They had vision I didn’t have, and to that, I’m grateful. I’m missing Dad today, but I know his spirit is in my head. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to get through another day.

19 comments on “Dad, Mom And Computers

  • Trade Show Guru says:

    hey Mitch,
    On a serious note: as my son would say, your post made my eyes wet. Well said. We owe much to our parents…
    On a lighter note: I didn’t know you were a “wedding singer”. Did you ever see the movie by that name (Adam Sandler). If I remember right, it was pretty funny. ~ Steve, the trade show guru
    .-= Trade Show Guru´s last blog ..Are You a Trade Show Kinsella =-.

    • No, I never saw that movie, Steve, but he was an after-wedding performer from the clips I’ve seen. He’d have never made it in the church service. 🙂

      • Yeah, he performed at the reception, but you should see the movie, it’s, how do they say it, a hoot.

        Anyway, now that we have the Internet and everything, you should seriously consider putting your lyrics online, perhaps even perform some on YouTube. Honestly mate, you could really reach the stars.
        .-= Sire´s last blog ..Save Even More Money With eBay =-.

      • No, those days are totally gone, Sire. I haven’t performed in 10 years come September. Got a standing ovation for singing a song I composed, my first ever in church, and decided it couldn’t get any better than that.

        And, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Adam Sandler movie; I’m going to have to think about that one some.

  • That’s a great story Mitch.. I lost my dad when I was 13 and had lost my mom when I was 10. It took quite a few years to let go. It’s weird to think that in 6 years I’ll be as old as my dad was when he died.

    anyways.. thanks for the story, I always wonder what it would have been like to have parents and how it would have changed things…

    • I’m sorry to hear about that, Jake. You’re someone who probably understands what Christopher Reeves son went through in losing both of his parents when he was still relatively young. I just can’t imagine having to go through this at a young age; I didn’t like going through it in my early 40’s. I’m betting you’ve gone and made both of their memories something they would have been proud of.

  • That is a very poignant story Mitch and I salute you for having written it. In my case, exactly the reverse took place! My son insisted that I learn how to operate the computer and look at me now!

  • It’s amazing how we never think of people in later generations using technology. I was shocked when my mother told me that my grandfather actually got on well with the early computers, even picking up Basic programming.

    Sorry to hear about your loss… I empathize. My memories of my grandparents come in dreams, usually around their birthdays. I know that my grandmothers will hit particularly hard this year, since it will be the one year anniversary of her passing. I guess we do move on indeed.

    ~ Kristi
    .-= Kikolani´s last blog ..Benefits of Blogging – Building a Community =-.

    • Thanks Kristi. This year, on my dad’s birthday, it’s going to be odd since it’s both his and my uncle’s birthdays. I wish my mind wasn’t so attuned to dates and numbers like it is.

  • Work At Home Blog says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Nice to know you have such great talent. Hey I like to sing too….hmmm perhaps one day we could do a duet….online duet that is if there is such a thing. Anyway, I enjoyed your sharing of your personal moments.

    .-= Work At Home Blog´s last blog ..How To Start Making Money With Adsense =-.

    • Thanks Peter; been awhile since you’ve visited. I’m lucky to have two tapes of Mitch’s greatest hits, which I actually pull out on occasion and listen to. I don’t cringe as much as I thought I might, after all these years. 🙂

  • I’m sorry for your lost, Mitch. Trust me that your dad is watching over you in a nicer place…

  • It’s nice to read that your parents had the foresight for you. So many African-American parents want the best for their children but because the time period in which they grew up–they never really tell you how to grasp it.

    My parents used to tell me there was nothing I couldn’t do and to always know if I fell on hard times “I could always come back home.” That was my motivation to make it! 🙂

    • That was great that your parents told you that, and kept encouraging you towards greatness. And look what you’ve accomplished!

  • check cash advance says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. Right now people are so busy. trying to sit down and have a coverastion seems like ancient history. I just started to email my dad and sister. We stay in touch bettter and more often.

    • It’s a good thing to do, Neela, since you only get your family members once in your life. When my dad was around we IM’d nightly; maybe that’s something you could integrate, eh?

  • Well, you owe your life to your parents, not just your present one!
    I wish my dad had been able to get into computers, he’d always wanted one for his work (he was a doctor) but he never did get one. He was in his late eighties when he passed and despite his age I think he’d have loved the internet. That said, I think he’d have been a total pain on it as he was, by nature, a ‘stirrer’!

    My sister bought me my first computer, but it wasn’t a PC… it was an Amstrad!! My first PC arrived in 2001 or 2002, I wouldn’t be without one these days.

    Love the post. I know a lot of ‘older’ (let’s say older than elderly) people who have their own PCs and are into the ‘net, including a neighbour in her nineties who recently got into it!

    • It’s a funny thing, Val. My dad started getting into computers but was about 3 years too late to do him much good. My mother is pretty much like my wife; has one, but rarely touches it. But I’m glad I got my taste, although it might have prevented me from writing that masterpiece.

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