3 Lives: A Baby Boomer’s Tale
by Cindi Manning
Ahhh, the Apple IIGS. I remember how excited I was to finally get a computer! When all of the new technology and ”kid stuff” came around while I was growing up, I was always just a little too old to fully enjoy it all. Everything was geared towards the kids of the baby boomers. I was born in Chicago in 1964, the last year of the baby boom generation: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was stupid; the new play gym at the grade school arrived the year after I left; and I got my first computer after I graduated from college.
I had used a teacher’s Mac to write my final paper for my theatre design and technology degree. When my parents agreed to get me a computer as a graduation present in 1987, I gravitated towards the full color of the IIGS. So there weren’t as many programs written for it as there were for the Mac, it had such great graphics abilities. Who wanted a boring old amber or green monitor? I got the complete Apple IIGS Woz edition system, including monitor, printer, and both 5.25” and 3.5” disc drives for about $3000. I’ve got to give my parents a lot of credit for spending that much money on a computer after they had just put me through 5 years of college (I had a double major). Later I added on the 45 meg external hard drive for even more file storage space. Thus began my IIGS adventure, playing games, practicing my mouse skills with my right hand (I’m a lefty and mousing with the right allows the left hand to write notes if necessary!), making a camping supplies checklist (used that thing just last season, in fact), and all those other things that made up daily computing life in the early 1990’s.
Around 1995, it began its second life at mom & dad’s house. Dad was supposed to “learn how to use a computer” in his spare time now that he was retired. Mom was happy to have a computer to compose the newsletters and save the copious recipes for the organizations she belonged to. It sure was much easier than a typewriter! When mom bought her own PC in 1997 from the computer guy I was dating at the time, the IIGS moved officially to dad’s desk, where he promptly never turned it on. In a fit of cleaning sometime after the new millennium began, all was packed up and moved under the guest bed. Last summer, while trying to help clean out the unneeded items from my parent’s house, it was decided that the IIGS should go. I just couldn’t throw it out. It was a Woz edition, after all! Somebody should be able to get some use out of it. A couple of google searches later and I found Bruce at DigiBarn Computer Museum. He was pretty excited to find the a system with the original software, so everything, including the manuals and original bill of sale, was packed up and sent to him from Akron, Ohio. Life number three in California begins…