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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.



Jan. 6th, 2011 02:41 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 02:26 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