STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Sandra Lee Smith

I an the first to admit how little I know about computers and how they work. For many years I worked in an office (I am reluctant to mention the name; I don’t want anyone from the office showing up on my doorstep or suing me for naming names.) I clearly remember the year–1982–when the Office began to convert to processing claims by computer–prior to this, all the claims were processed by filling out a form, determining whether or not the person was entitled to be reimbursed for his or her medical expense, figuring out what the 80% reimbursement came to, deducting any deductible (oh, those were the days! the annual deductible was $100.00 per person) and routing the claim to the person who typed the checks every day.

As time went by, computers improved by leaps and bounds–we changed computer systems three or four times in the period I was working there–when I decided it was time to retire, another computer system was scheduled to be installed the following January. The time was right, I thought.

Well, one of the first things I did that following January was buy a new computer of my own. My sister’s stepson helped me choose a computer and he also installed it for me. I wanted to get back to freelance writing and it was senseless to type articles or manuscripts on a typewriter. I didn’t even own a typewriter by then–I had lent my portable Smith-Corona to a friend who never returned it. (Even so, the first poems I sold were typed on that portable Smith-Corona).

Now I had advanced to the world of computers–back then the paper was 3 thickness, an original with two copies–and the paper was continuously fed through the computer–if you’ve been around a long time, you will remember how that paper was fed through the computer. I have to admit, today’s keyboard, choice of lap top or desk top, and plain white multi-use paper, versatile for lasers, inkjets and copiers does a much better job of printing my material than anything I had used before. (I am old enough to remember typing a manuscript with a carbon copy, double spaced, word total indicated at the top of the page (no, your typewriter didn’t compute the word total for you–today’s computer does that job, though). I had an experience recently that made a believer out of me–a computer geek was helping me with some computer issues…I don’t know how the subject turned to my blog, but it did–this person, who was far away, was able to retrieve my blog and enabled me to return to writing for my blog again. I didn’t think it was possible–but I have under estimated computers for years–and I am as happy as a clam to be working on my blog again.

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8 responses to “STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Sandra Lee Smith

  1. Richard Grupenhoff

    Dear Sandy, i know that it’s been awhile since i last sent you a message, but I thought no w would be a good time. i don’t know if you are on Facebook, but there is a group there (St. Bonnies/South Fairmount) that is planning a reunion of Fairmounters on September 16th. the are meeting to mark the development of the “Lick Run” Project and the demise of Shadwell Park. AS you might know, almost all the buildings on Queen City Avenue and the northside of Westwood Avenue are being torn down from Quebec Road to Harrison Avenue in the east. I plan to attend. Do you thin you can make it on short notice? Or, I guess I should ask first, are you interested? It would be nice to meet you after all these years. Please let me know. I hope all is well with you… Richard Grupenhoff

    • Oh, Richard–I am delighted that you wrote–even though I know I can’t make it –I am flying to Seattle in mid August for a surprise BD party for my only older sibling since the death of my older sister in 2004…I am confident my brother won’t find this blog post–I need to see if I can find my cousin Renee’s email address–I lost almost all of my contacts AND all of my contacts on Facebook–and I have been unable to get back onto FB–someone, no idea who, told FB I wasnt who I claimed to be so they cancelled my FB accounts and ever since, just when I think I am getting back onto FB someone throws a monkey wrench into my efforts–AND to add to my chagrin (though I am not smiling, lol) last year, I forget when, I lost my password to my blog–maybe the same whoever screwed up my FB account–or maybe it wasn’t anyone but a bleep in my blog account from my absence during a spell when I wasnt very well and then couldnt remember everything. Yes, I have a notebook and I try to enter new passwords but sometimes I forget (I do my utmost to keep up with addresses et al, but this has been such a major loss–in addition, earlier this year I was constantly unable to stay online with earthlink–I think that was their fault, not mine–so to make a change, I signed up with Spectrum/aka twc (time warner cable–I figured I was breaking about even closing down Direct TV, my telephone bill–closing down Frontier and closing down my Earthlink account – WELL, Earthlink balked and wanted to charge me $94 for closing down early (a long story and this is long enough–anyway, I kept Earthlink to wait out the year–and I think overall I am getting the better deal. I apologize for the length of this – please send me any info you can –I think my cousins who grew up in SF will be interested– I am VERY interested but I can only manage one trip somewhere nowadays. so pleased to hear from you – how syncronistic (sp) and timely to hear from you just when I was getting back on to my blog. I have been thinking maybe Cincy next year–if I decide to try and make it somewhere and start searching for a cheap fare, I often come up with something good. Thanks for writing–fondly, Sandy

  2. Nancy Williams

    Nice to have you back, Sandy! Yes, I remember carbon copies, green waxy stencils that you scraped with a paper clip., correction fluid–can’t you just smell it now?

  3. So good to see you back, Sandy!! I remember it all very well, although I didn’t even type very much back in those days. I still prefer pens and pretty paper.

    • Isn’t it amazing, Nancy, how many things we just HAD to have to type a letter–btw, I bought a bottle of correction fluid (white out?) recently–I forget what for but I got it at the Dollar Tree. Back when I took over the job of the Beachy School newsletter (early 70s) I was so dedicated to doing the newsletter, after a few issues I started up a column of my own (and didnt even ask the principal if it was ok–I still have my copies of most of them. a lot of parents loved that column- it brought back a lot of memories.
      Thanks for the welcome back….I have BEEN here all along but have had one problem after another with such mundane things like passwords which always get the best of me.
      Nice to hear from you!
      Sandy

  4. girlfriends, I have to check my blog files – I think some of my Beachy school newsletter articles were recycled when I was going fifty or sixty miles an hour and turned them inside out onto blog posts. will check my files. – Sandy

  5. Richard Grupenhoff

    I got your email, sorry you can’t make it. I’ll send you a report. BTW, yesterday on Facebook someone post a color photo of Twin Trolleys at Queen City and Beekman. You would like it. Tty to get on the site and join in the conversation.

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