This was my high school senior portrait from August 1978. At the time I was driving a 1964 Pontiac Lemans, writing software for the old 8-bit machines (Apple and Radio Shack TRS-80) and homebrewing electronics. I worked as a greenskeeper, tending the golf course at Hickory Hills country club. My hobbies also included beekeeping, I had four hives in the back yard and a glass sided observation hive in my bedroom.
My senior year of high school I wrote a
student attendance tracking system (in COBOL) for the Springfield public school
system. This project was the result of a trade I made with my instructor.
It was his job to write it, so I offered to do the work for him in exchange for
a no-questions asked "A" for the course, and my use of the mainframes in the
evening hours for personal projects. The deal was done, I did his work,
got my grade, blew off the class, and had two mainframes at my disposal for the
year. An IBM 360 and a System-3.
On some evenings there were adult vocational classes in the computer lab. One of the older students was a lady who tuned into the fact that I was a nerd and enjoyed teasing me about it in front of the other evening students. I helped her with some of her projects and she started telling me about her daughter that was my age. In time I would meet the gal, who became my first girlfriend.
My senior year was also when I started programming commercially. My first client was the "Farmers & Merchants Bank" of Mansfield, MO. It was a simple loan management application - storing data files on audio tape. I was also writing computer games, and started having them published in computer magazines.
Times were good.
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All images & text © 2003 Phil Case