Eileen Fisher: GigaMom


He Taught Me To Love Technology

This Gadget Girl Learned From A Master

One day when I was little, my Dad came bustling through the front door carrying a huge box. He was literally bursting with excitement about what he had brought home.

It was Pong.

It was the late seventies and the home version of the popular arcade game Pong had just been released. To have a Pong game system in your house, hooked up to your TV meant that you were the one, the Yoda of technology and the coolest block on the house.

We played that game for hours and hours. To be able to play an arcade game in your house was mind boggling. It’s one of my best childhood memories.

A few years after Pong arrived in our house, another new arrival showed up — a Commodore 64 computer. My dad was one of the first people we knew of to get one of these.

Just look at that intelligent keyboard. It even had extra buttons — “F-Keys.” My dad quickly became fascinated by this new technology called “Home Computing.” This was before the days of the floppy disk, and the programming he taught himself to do was done on a tape drive, which he had to travel to Seattle to buy.

Yes, my Dad drove 235 kms to buy the latest technology. And for that, he will always be a hero to me.

In real life, he was an actual hero, fighting in both World War II and the Korean War. It was while he was in the Navy that he became fascinated with technology, and it stuck with him his entire life.

After the Commodore 64 purchase, it was his mission to research and obtain the latest in technological gadgets he could get. He kept adding to the collection — a Walkman, BETA machine, VCR, computer gadgets... you name it, he got it.

By the time I was in my late teens, I had developed a huge love of photography, and studied it in high school. I was using an old borrowed camera for my photos and it was a great one to learn on.

But according to Dad, it didn’t have enough “options.” So one day when my parents returned home from a trip to the States, he handed me a small camera bag. In it was an Olympus IS-1 — one of THE hottest cameras to come out that year. It was so techy that it looked like a small video camera. It was an SLR, but it had an LCD panel and a special flash that eliminated red-eye. Nowadays, those are basic options for a camera but in 1990, that was big news.

I still have my Olympus camera. I don’t use it that often, but it’s always close by.

Two years after I got my fancy new camera, my dad passed away from lung cancer. Sadly, medical technology couldn’t reverse what years of smoking had done. Every year on Father’s Day I send a tweet out in his memory and can’t help but wonder what he would think about all of the technology that surrounds us today, and how it is part of our everyday lives.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you and I miss you every day.

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