Mom would have been 89

I suspect that it was my mom who engineered the household’s purchase of the Encyclopedia Americana.

trudy.awningMusing about my next birthday coming up in a few months, I was wondering how I would remember how old I was, I realized that it would be easy: two to the sixth power, or 100000 base 2.

My mom was thrilled that I was learning base 2 when I was in fifth grade. You know base 2? Unlike base 10, which has ten digits, 0-9, base 2 only has two digits, 0 and 1.
1= 1 base 2
2= 10 base 2
3= 11 base 2
4= 100 base 2
5= 101 base 2
and so on

She was excited because, I was told, base 2 is used in COMPUTERS! 1 is on, 0 is off. So this would mean I could be a computer programmer!

As it turned out, the only thing I ever learned about computers is how to turn them on and off, and not always even that.

But I loved base 2 equivalent placeholders, and I could recite them – 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384 – without even thinking about them. This seemed to please my mother.

But I have very few other recollections about her talking to me about my school work. She was a work-outside-the-home mom when most of my friends had their moms staying at home. That was time-consuming, and must have been enervating.

Still, I suspect that it was she who engineered the household’s purchase of the Encyclopedia Americana. And it was her additional income that made it possible.

Since they were expensive for our family’s household income, I made sure they got well used. I’m not sure if anyone else used them much, but over two or three years, I read all 20-odd volumes all the way through. And my parents, at my urging, bought these annual updates, and I devoured them too.

Mom attended Daniel Dickinson school, as my sisters and I did; I’d written about it periodically, including here.

Anyhoo, mom would have been 89 today. And I think to call her, so I pick up phone sometimes, before I realize that I can’t. I am surprised I haven’t figured that out yet; she’s been gone nearly six years.

I have no idea where this picture was taken; she was probably single at the time.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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