I'm feeling a little nostalgic right now, though I can't pinpoint it to just one thing. It started, I think, last week with the 20th anniversary of my death of my grandfather. As I reflected on that sad day, I continued reading the biography of Steve Jobs, which is interesting, because it connects the dots of a story that I only peripherally understood.
This led me to ask my parents if they still had that original Mac lying around somewhere, the one they bought in 1985 that taught me most of what I know about graphic design and became the platform on which I really learned how to write.
Turned out they did.
My dad handed me a dusty, padded bag, and inside was a yellow, stained and possibly moldy old computer. I plugged it in and turned it on. It didn't quite boot up. Back in the day, Macs didn't have an internal hard drive, so the computer, itself, flashed that familiar old blinking question mark icon, while the 26-year-old extra hard drive hummed loudly.
It turned the 20-megabyte drive on and off about 10 times, and when I came back from grabbing a cup of coffee, it had booted. A screen saver called After Dark, one that I hadn't seen since the early '90s, lit up the screen.
I found myself elated that this relic was working, but disappointed that my school papers and MacPaint files were gone. At some point, I must've removed these files and transferred them to another long-gone computer. Still, the Mac held documents from my younger sister, some work memos from my dad and even a novel my mom had started.
As I pondered how I'd get this information off this ancient computer (there was no ethernet port on this computer, no modem, and I haven't seen a floppy disk or disk drive in ages), I got cocky. I searched for Disk First Aid and ran it. It froze halfway through, and I can no longer get the Mac to boot. Sadly, I think I re-killed this Mac 512K.
My final nostalgic act occurred when I remembered that at some point, I had a SCSI-enabled ZIP drive that maybe I could connect to this ancient computer. I found a box tucked away in the corner of my office and dove in. Inside, I found old newspaper clippings about OnMilwaukee.com, stickers emblazoned with our old logo and a container of CDs.
The CDs were the best part, because I rediscovered 20 or so discs that I never wound up ripping to iTunes. I found parts of my music library that hadn't seen the light of day in this millennium. But I didn't find that ZIP drive.
So, the old Mac remains plugged in, frozen in time. Maybe someday I'll find a way to resuscitate that old hard drive. Maybe not.
But in the last week, I found myself traveling through my past. Some memories were good, some less so.
I guess sometimes a walk down memory lane is an nice little stroll the park. This time, the nostalgia felt a tad more bittersweet.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published April 25, 2017
While planning next week's trip Up North, I started wondering just how much of Wisconsin I've seen over these last 37 years. So, I downloaded a map and started drawing on it, including the route I have planned for next week.
Published April 14, 2017
Milwaukeeans love our 414, the area code covering the city, the county and parts of Muskego and Brookfield. It's been since 1947, when Bell Telephone established it, along with 715, in Wisconsin. But why did they pick 414?
Published April 12, 2017
Maybe it was all the hard living back then. Maybe it was all the mustaches. But how old was this motley Brewers Crew back in '82?
Published April 3, 2017
The Brewers lost 89 games in 2016, finishing 30.5 behind the Cubs. Then they got rid of Chris Carter, Martin Maldonado and Tyler Thornburg. Is there anywhere to go but up?
Published March 14, 2017
In a market with plenty of big box stores, how does owning a neighborhood Ace Hardware store in this era make sense? Easy, says owners Bob and Kristin Nell. It's about customer service.
Published March 8, 2017
You may be surprised to read this from OnMilwaukee Publisher Andy Tarnoff, but claiming newspapers are dead is at best myopic, and at worst, just wrong. They simply occupy a different place in society now.
Published Feb. 6, 2017
Perhaps you're in the mood for eating some midnight sushi or buying a Rolex. Or maybe you want to gamble on the sinking of the Titanic. Las Vegas is your place for weirdness. Here's just a sampling.
Published Jan. 17, 2017
I don't entirely know what we're watching here, but I know it's funny and extremely inappropriate.
Published Jan. 12, 2017
I'm very concerned about the problem of "fake news" and what it means for journalists, politicians and the media-consuming public. But, really, this isn't a new concern of mine. For many years, I've battled with the concept that the internet is always right.
Published Jan. 9, 2017
On Dec. 8, Larry Hansen was injured in a horrendous and freak accident by a presumed drunk driver. While working on his car in his Okauchee garage. Five surgeries and 42 pints of blood later, Hansen has lost a leg, has a broken back and faces more surgeries.