What follows is a potentially debilitating attempt at therapy. I often think back about about my life, how it’s gone right, how it’s gone wrong. . . but mostly about how lucky I’ve been. I’ve begun to reminisce about my childhood, etc. So, it could be pretty boring stuff. My sidebar will soon have the concise version.
The Early Years
I grew up in the small town of Stow, Massachusetts. I’m happy to have come from Massachusetts and think it was a pretty cool place grow up. If you are not sure whether Massachusetts is a cool place or not, listen to Arlo Guthrie’s “Massachusetts.” He’ll convince you. There was camping, mountain climbing, and skiing in neighboring New Hampshire, and plenty of trouble to be gotten into closer to home. It seemed like everyone’s father except my own worked in the bordering town of Maynard at the Digital Equipment Corporation. Their minicomputers were immensely popular and, at the peak of their popularity, the company was the second largest employer in Massachusetts after the state government. Known more commonly as DEC, locals still referred to it as Digital, as in “I’d better get to the store and do my grocery shopping before that darned Digital going-home-from-work traffic begins.” Our town was forced to get its first and sole traffic light.
Digital eventually made Maynard the location of its worldwide headquarters, bestowing upon the unsuspecting town the nickname “Mini Computer Capital of the World.” The town itself didn’t become incorporated until 1871. Its Assabet Woolen Mill had supplied the greatest percentage of wool for military uniforms during the American Civil War. “The Mill,” as it was referred to later, became Digital’s headquarters until 1998 when DEC was sold to Compaq. Compaq was bought by Hewlett Packard in 2002.