One recent Thursday, I hurried across the street in Kallio in downtown Helsinki. Unlike thirty years earlier when I rushed across the street in the morning to get breakfast, this time I walked in the opposite direction.
My old apartment building was still there, as was the downstairs pub, but the store that I used to run to is all gone, and many of the other stores have become coffee shops and restaurants.
Around the corner, where there used to be nothing as far as I was concerned, there is now a small movie theatre called Riviera. That’s where I was headed.
It was the Helsinki media day of my book launch.
My first contact with a computer was a printout of Snoopy made out of x’s and o’s and ampersands. I don’t remember where it was, and not what the computer looked like – although in my head I saw it during one of our field trips during my two weeks with the scouts and it was one of those room-sized mainframes but both claims are just as likely to be fake memories I created as I typed this – but I can see that Snoopy as clearly as if I was holding the two-tone continuous form paper in my hand right now.
To me, it was the work of genius. Looking at it up close, it was just a mess of characters, but once you took two steps back, there was Snoopy dancing! Snoopy!
If that’s what computers could do, count me in! However, it took me a couple of years to get my hands on one.
When Son wants to make fun of me, he pretends to be writing a blog post as me. The punchline? They all begin with “When I was a kid.” I always laugh, because I know he must be kidding. Not ALL my posts begin like that.
When I was a kid, I often sat in a rocking chair in my grandparents’ house. It was best seat in the house. It was in the corner of the kitchen so you could see and hear everything. I also sat right next to a cupboard should you need a hiding place, and it was next to a daily calendar and sometimes I got to tear off a page. Right next to ie, there was a photo of an even smaller me which made me feel very special.
There I sat, listening to my grandmother walk around the kitchen, singing quietly or talking to herself while wiping the table, carrying things from one place to another, or cooking dinner.