Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Part 2: Cradle Songs & Distant Melodies- Information Technology Runs In the Family

To read Part 1, please click on the following link
Part 1: Cradle Songs & Distant Melodies, "Where are you from?"
* * *
Part 2: Cradle Songs & Distant Melodies
Information Technology, Runs In the Family

To begin with, the ‘where do you come from’ question had a lot to do with my parent's life. In the sixties, seventies and eighties they followed a variety of programming jobs through the midwestern and western United States. So for a bit, as children, we came from Vandalia Ohio, Lansing Michigan, Seattle Washington, and Sierra Vista Arizona. Then later, for a time, we came from Claremont and Camarillo, and Ventura California.

Following in our father’s footsteps, my sister and I both applied our university degrees to writing software as well. It seemed rather quaint to think that we were second-generation programmers at a time when the field was so new. In point of fact we were following a familiar path. Family involvement in information technology was nothing new. My maternal grandfather, Charles Herman, his sister, my great-aunt Mabel, and their father, also Charles, were all telegraphers. Telegraphy, like software development, had been the latest, newest way to make a good salary and be caught up in the newest thing. It also meant that my mother’s family survived the Great Depression without missing a paycheck. Being a telegrapher in Chicago was a good way to remain employed.

So, information technology means we’ve been off the farm for a long time. Except that my father, his mother and little brother survived the thirties by going back to the farm. While my paternal grandfather went on the road as a traveling salesman, his family bunked around with whomever in the family would take them in. And those best equipped to do that, were farmers.

Farm life taught my father how to work hard, something he continues to do in his mid eighties. He developed a fount of really corny family jokes. He also learned to make a mean dish of hash browns on top of a griddle. So, I guess if you’d met him during the Depression, you would have said that my father came from a farming culture. Except of course he didn’t.

Back in Deerfield Illinois my mother was exposed to another culture, something that had nothing to do with her family. She had a card at the local free library and there she met the librarian who suggested that anybody who read as much as Peggy, ought to go to college.

Nobody in Mama’s family had ever gone to college, but it sounded like a good idea to her. Though she had enjoyed small-town suburban life as a child, she rebelled against it as a teenager. When Peggy Herman graduated from high school, she took a train into Chicago and got herself a job at the stationary company, H.R. Donnelley. Then, when World War II broke out, she got an even better paying job in the war plants. And a few years later, Mama had managed to put herself through college paying for it entirely, with the money she had earned herself. So if you asked Peggy Herman where she came from, she’d say, the University of Chicago.

Next Time: My Old Neighborhood

Listen to this entire story in the April Edition of "Unpolished Performances", a free podcast in the iTunes Store. Download it by clicking on this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please sign at least your first name, even if you are leaving an anonymous comment :-)

I'm sure everyone will be polite!