The Other I

January 12, 2009

Memory storage

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 2:45 pm

Our first computer in 1980 had memory of 250 K.  That seemed a lot for about six months, by which time it was dwarfed by 640 K.  Stop laughing:  we were at the cutting edge of technology.  Before that, computers were run by laboratory men dressed in white coats in buildings built especially to house the IBM mainframe.

Yet, I think the memory storage of a computer cannot compare with the attic or the basement or the garage – or even the whole house – where memories have been stored for two or three generations.

We have workmen in our front room at the moment digging a trench through the concrete floor in search of an elusive leak.  I just heard one of them say ” Steve, look at this.  What a beauty!”  It feels like a kind of familial archaeological dig.  It reminds me of the garage belonging to my father-in-law.  When Peter and I cleared it out, it had been collecting memories for almost 50 years.

His father had lived through the severe and prolonged deprivations of WWII, and was consequently a prodigious collector.  One never knew when one might find a creative use for just this apparent piece of junk.  Once we had removed the car with its four flat tires from the garage, we proceeded to two non-functioning washing machines, several lawn mowers of varying vintages, all the gas pipes which had been removed when the house was wired for electricity in about 1947, papers that the tax authorities might conceivably had an interest in about 1949, Peter’s grade school report cards, and several stacks of old magazines.  

And a petrified mouse.

Our finds, though, don’t compare with the friend who was clearing out the house of her mother who had also lived through WWII in Europe.  She found a box in the attic labelled “pieces of string too small to do anything with.”

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