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 1977 - Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 Computer    Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 Computer with Audio Cassette Recorder
     It was late in 1977 when I spotted the Radio Shack ad for something new called a "microcomputer" - and it was named the TRS-80 Model I.
     I couldn't wait to get to the local store to check out this $600 wonder. It had a black and white monitor that displayed 16 lines of 64 characters each (with capital letters only). It had 4K of RAM and came with two programs: Craps and Backgammon.
     There was also a manual which gave instructions for learning to write your own programs in something called BASIC. There was no disk drive of any kind -- an audio tape recorder was used for loading and saving software. My wife couldn't believe I actually wanted to buy one of these crazy things.
      Here's a little poem that tells the story...
My First Computer

I can't believe it's been this long
since I first saw that ad.
"Six hundred dollars for a what?"
My wife said I'd gone mad.

"Computer thing? What does it do?
This surely is a joke.
You type in stuff - it's on a screen.
For this we should go broke?"

Our TV set was getting old.
How could I be so dense?
A bigger screen, a stereo...
now these would make some sense.

Of course I said, "You're right, my dear…
you always know what's best."
Then headed downtown to the Shack
to give it just a test.

My eyes lit up to see the things
that this device could do.
I simply couldn't turn it down -
could not resist - could you?

I took it home and set it up...
I knew just what to say.
We'll use it in our business -
it soon will pay its way.

"Yeah, right!" was all my wife could say…
I'd have to show her proof
that this new toy could do some work...
or she'd go through the roof.

Well, that was not so easy then...
of printers there were none.
You'd have to write the screen results
to use what you had done.

There were no disks! A tape machine
was what you had to use
to save your files and, frequently,
the tape would just refuse.

But this is where it all began...
this crazy new device...
This toy which nearly wrecked my home,
was somehow worth the price.

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Prologue   Ch.1 Alameda—Los Angeles 1939-40   Ch.2 Echo Park 1943   Ch.3 Virgil Jr Hi 1944   Ch.4 Le Conte Jr Hi 1945-46
Ch.5 Gower Gulch 1946   Ch.6 Hollywood Hi 1946-47   Ch.7 Drop Out 1948   Ch 8 Norma Jean Salina 1948   Ch 9 Fort Ord 1949
Ch.10 Fort Belvoir 1950   Ch.11 Korea 1951   Ch.12 Back to Civilian Life 1952   Ch.13 Cornet Stores 1953   Ch.14 Puerto Rico 1955
Ch 15 Signs by George 1956   Ch 16 Mexico 1958   Ch.17 Fullerton 1960   Ch.18 Fallbrook 1973-2000   Ch.19 Costa Mesa 2000

The Mysterious Underground Computer    Embarrassing Talk with a 5-Year-Old
    No Time for Sergeants    New Job & All Those Pretty Girls
    World Champion Non-Sports Fan    The Starlite Ballroom Mystery
    The Day I Turned a POW Loose in Korea    1978 Email + the SWAT Squad
    Said She'd Do ANYTHING For My Secret    My Favorite Customer: Chet Huntley
    To Drop Out or Not to Drop Out...    First Date - First Kiss?
    Don's Vintage Cartoons    Chat Room Cat

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