The Greatest Home Run Ever

With my husband in the next room watching the Boston Red Sox play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, my mind goes to back to the day I heard the greatest home run ever,

It was in 1960, and I was an art student at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I was working on one of my projects on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building, and I had my radio on, listening to the World Series. The interesting part was that the seventh game was being played less than 1/8 of a mile from the University at Forbes Field. The Pirates were playing the Yankees.  Since it was a nice day, the window was open and I could hear the crowd cheering when things went well for the Pirates.

The series was three games to three and the score was 9 – 9 and it was the bottom of the ninth inning.

Roberto Clemente was my favorite player (God rest his soul), but Bill Mazeroski was at bat. The bases were loaded and the count was one ball and no strikes. I was listening, hoping Mazeroski would get a hit and WHAM he hit a home run over the left field wall, winning the series. The crowd went wild, and I was thrilled to hear the cheering from the radio and the stadium at the same time. I will never forget the joy and exhilaration I felt during those moments. I feel like I was especially blessed to hear the cheers for the greatest home run ever played.

If you watch the ball go over the fence you can see the buildings of Carnegie-Mellon in the background.

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A Dummie’s History of Computers

Believe it or not, I was born long before the first computers became available to the public. I totally lack any credentials for writing a blog on the history of computers, so I am only presenting the few facts I know to be true from experience. In other words, I am the dummie!

My first husband was an electrical engineer who graduated in 1964 from Carnegie-Mellon University. At that time, if a computer were mentioned in a conversation, most people understood it was at IBM, and had nothing to do with real life. However, my husband got a job at the university making circuit boards for their new computer, one of the first in Pittsburgh.

The computer was not a lap-top or a desktop. It took up almost the entire third floor of the new computer research building. I am saying this to explain that size mattered at that time, and the idea of a computer sitting on a desk would have drawn laughter. The computer used at least 50 huge 1’x 6’x 6’ high cabinets. These large metal cabinets held all the files and hardware for this computer, and took up the whole floor. When I see teenagers running around with internet capable cell phones I am still amazed. How did those computer cabinets get small enough to fit into these phones?

To make a program for a computer you needed three bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees and twelve PhD’s, so there were very few programmers. I am exaggerating, but then, as now, these people were considered the smartest of the smart, or as Apple calls them, geniuses. These are to be differentiated at all times from dummies.

One of my husband’s jobs was to solder circuit boards. The boards were about 3” by 6”. My husband soldered the wires to the board all day and when he came home at night he explained how the computer worked. One wire connected to either a 1 or a 0, depending on the voltage used. If the user asked the computer a simple question, the wires went through many boards connecting various ones and zeros until it arrived at the answer. A simple question might travel  through hundreds of wires and circuit boards. It was mind bloggleing.

“It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?” I ask.

“No it doesn’t,” another personality answers.

“Are you crazy?” a third personality chimes in.

“Who’s asking?” I wonder.

“I don’t know. Do you?”

P.S. Having checked out a few articles on computers from the Internet, I think the computer language I’m talking about is called binary, but the reader is cautioned not to speak of the information in this article in front of a professional or an educator for fear of looking a lot like a dummie. And remember, a dummie can be a computer user, but a computer user might be a genius.

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them