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One of my neighbors died this week. She was elderly, but she always seemed to be in good health to me, so naturally I was shocked to find out about her death. It turned out that she had been in the hospital since Christmas Day, when I attempted to deliver a card to her, or earlier.

The real surprise came when I read her obituary. I've known her for as long as I can remember, so imagine my surprise to find out that she worked as a computer programmer for thirty-seven years. I couldn't make that up. How did I not know this? I don't know how long ago she retired or even if she had any higher education, but given that computer science didn't become an academic field until the 1950s with a degree program not happening until 1962, working as a computer programmer that long ago, especially as a woman, is very impressive.

Still, why did I never know this? And more importantly, what would have happened if I had found out much sooner, perhaps as a young girl? Might I have become interested in the field? It would have taken a lot to pull me away from the humanities back then, even though I was also good at math and science. The younger me probably would have thought it was boring, despite my learning how to work DOS as a kid. That shows you how much I've changed since then. Lesson to everyone: Share what you know with someone else. You never know who will treasure it.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Share what you know with someone else. You never know who will treasure it.

...That is beautiful.

Thank you, Sushi. And thank you, random awesome lady. Godspeed.
Jan. 6th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
I didn't even know they had Computer Science back then. She sounds like an impressive lady.

And now I find myself considering the possibility of you as a computer programmer, which is an interesting mental image.

P.S. - Happy Birthday!!!
Jan. 7th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
I didn't either! It made sense given the arrival of the computer, but when you think about it, CS really is a new field. I never knew her that well, though; she was a very private person.

Hey, I have been trying to teach myself to program. Key word: Trying. I've quit for awhile to concentrate on writing, but I should get back into it.

And thank you! I believe you were first. :D
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )