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A Woman's Journal

Yellow Tulips

1984 
By Maggie Turner  


Friday, May 12, 2000

1984

 

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Tornado warnings are in effect for tonight. I am going to shut down early and batten down the hatches. The entry will have to be uploaded soon as the sky is darkening. I could see myself madly sitting here at the keyboard, finishing up while my family shouts from the basement,"Come on!" Obsession...

One thing leads to another. Today I am circling my past.

"The mutability of the past is the central tenet... The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it." (1984, George Orwell)

George Orwell's "1984" was required reading when I attended High School. I was very impressed by the book. I waited for the year 1984 with some trepidation and interest. Would the surveillance and resistance described in the book play itself out in the very year that gave title to the book?

I remember 1984 very clearly.

After a long and difficult pregnancy, my second daughter was born alive and healthy in 1984. I regarded this as a miracle. At the beginning of the pregnancy, the doctor described her to me as a "nonviable" fetus. Having lost a child several years before this pregnancy, I would not accept that diagnosis. Since standing triggered labor, I decided the thing to do was to lie down. That is just what I did, I went to bed in the second month and got out of bed six months later. My doctor did not suggest this solution, although he did confirm that it might work.

When I was further along it was decided that I should take medication to help prevent premature labor, there was no guarantee it would not adversely affect the child. Since the pregnancy and therefore the child were in grave danger, I took the medication. Although she was active, there was no way to tell if she was sound. She arrived on a sunny afternoon, pink and with a full compliment of toes and fingers.

That same year a new computer came on the market, the Apple IIc.

Our Apple IIc was purchased several years after "The Teenager" was born, in 1986. I remember the boxes arriving, white, glossy, and new. Those boxes have a yellow tinge now. I remember marveling at how easy it was to plug in the few cables and turn the machine on, within minutes of removing the components from the boxes. What a marvel it all seemed. The Commodore 64 still had its place on the desk, but its use diminished over time.

Today I have the old Apple out on the dining room table. It has been in the closet since 1993. At that time it was in use daily and sharing a printer with the Commodore 64. Both of these computers went into boxes that year. They have been in the closet ever since. I am considering selling the Apple system and so I decided to set it up and see if it still works.

Without using a manual or any instructions, I took the components out of the boxes, plugged them in, inserted a boot disk (no hard drive), and turned on the switch. The old familiar chugging and whirring was followed by a prompt for the AppleWorks disk. AppleWorks was a very early office suite for Apple computers. I inserted the second floppy and the prompt, allowing me to choose word processor, database, or spreadsheet functions, appeared on the screen.

Oh, the happy HOURS spent on this ProDOS based machine. How time consuming were the simplest tasks. Then the computer never crashed and there were no software conflicts to resolve. Although the simple things were time consuming, they worked flawlessly the first time, every time.

I really would like to keep this computer. I enjoyed using it when it was new. I learned Basic on this computer and did a lot of writing. I have newer, faster computers that are integrated into cross-platform functions and vitally connected to the Internet. I doubt that I will take the time to use the Apple IIc. Then there is the issue of, where would I put it?

It seems a shame that the Apple is spending its time in the closet. I want to set it free and find an appreciative home for it.

My reverie on the year 1984 all started when I took the Apple box out of the closet. One cannot think of 1984 without thinking of George Orwell. I had a lot of time to think about his book and many others as I lay waiting for my daughter's arrival that year.

That was only 16 years ago. My daughter is taller than I am now and moving into her future with gusto. The Apple that premiered the year she was born is in a box in a closet. I guess the disparity in their longevity is really a design issue.


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