"" Writer's Wanderings: Old Enough For the Smithsonian

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old Enough For the Smithsonian

The very early years of our marriage were spent in the Laurel, Maryland area which is about half way between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. We spent a great deal of time exploring our nation’s capital and one of our favorite places to go was the Smithsonian Museum. The museum is actually made up of several buildings near the center mall area. The Aeronautics and Space building was always fun as was the building that housed all the historical artifacts from the entertainment world—like Dorothy’s ruby red slippers. When our kids were old enough to appreciate the history and the importance of the nation’s capitol, we took them on a trip to D.C. and of course the Smithsonian was on our agenda.

In the years between our residence in Maryland and our vacation in D.C. with our kids, Bob had worked for Addressograph Multigraph and had helped to design a credit authorization terminal. The equipment was nothing like the little card readers we see in the stores today. On the contrary, it was the size of a small microwave oven. (I would say the size of a large electric typewriter but today many people don’t know what a typewriter looks like.) We still have one of the originals in our basement (Ours obviously sat too near someone’s art project.) It was innovative and the first step to technology for credit card authorization that soon took off and became very sophisticated.

As we visited various parts of the Smithsonian, the kids were duly impressed and/or bored with our stories of the things we saw from our childhood. Eventually we reached a section of “modern” technology and as we walked along one of the kids stopped in his tracks and pointed.

“Isn’t that the thing we have in the basement, Dad?” he asked.

Displayed with several other units was the very credit authorization machine Bob had worked on. Right there in the Smithsonian Museum. Yes, we felt old. So take care when you visit those museums. You just might find a little piece of your personal history collecting dust along with all the other historical artifacts.

2 comments:

Adele said...

You do realize that Devon and I were scouting out Staples recently. I just love stationary stores. Anyways, on the end aisle, on the top shelf on the left, you would never believe what I saw...an electric typerwriter. Yep, I think they still sell them things for places where internet is not provided LOL...Henry Ford Museum was like that for us. I recognized way to many things!! We were still using the wringer washer too...and people were pointing and laughing...geezz..

Caroline said...

LOL. The dangers of educaton. :) Good post.
cb
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