What it was like Growing up in the Bay Area 20 year ago
When I think of the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge comes to mind.
I spent the first 46 years of my life in the Bay Area, the Bay Area was the term I remember from childhood, we lived in the “Bay Area”, even though we lived in Campbell, Ca 95008.
It all started for me in June 1952 when I was born in San Francisco.
The change is more noticeable after moving and returning for family visit and class reunions.
My First Memory Recall
I have no memory recall for my younger years until around 6 years old when we lived in San Mateo. I attended first grade, I still remember Ms. Gold my teacher. A kind and caring person, who was excited about being a teacher.
I also recall chasing my younger brother into our house where he slammed the 6 pane glass door as I was nearing catching him. I had my hand out and pushed it through one pane. I did not catch him but did received a large slash on my wrist, which required many stitches, for which I have the scar on my wrist to this day as a reminder.
My Parents Home
Within several years my parents move to the town of Campbell. They had two homes in Campbell, one they purchased for $11,500 and the second one for $14,900. That was many years ago. One of my brothers still owns the home we all grew up in, all seven of us.
What the area was like early on
I recall many areas of farming where they grew and sold fresh vegetables and fruits locally. Picking and cutting apricots in the summer was one of my jobs and mostly available for kids.
I liked strawberries and still do today, there was one farm was within walking distance. I was excited when I could smell the strawberries knowing it was just a walk to get to the freshest just picked strawberries.
In Blossom Hill Area there was the Almaden Winery that later became a large housing community. This was all part of the need to build more homes for the growing area.
Growing up, I had many of the typical jobs held by teenagers. Paper route, gardening, donut shop, and gas station attendant. It was one of the greatest educations in making a small living to support my wants. Those wants included owning three cars before my 18th birthday, paying for insurance, gas and servicing my own vehicles. And some of our money went into savings. These were my parent’s rules for their children. We all learned the value of working for what we wanted and our future by saving.
Before there were options like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, we had radio stations with what seemed like so many commercials. To avoid the commercials on the Radio, we had LP’s or what is today referred to Vinyl.
This option was great at home or parties, but not for our cars, which when young was a regular place to hang out. So along can several options for music on the go. 4 track, then 8 track, cassette, later CD and today we have DVD for even movies in our cars.
Graduated in 1970 and in 1971 started a 28 year career at what started a Pacific Telegraph and Telephone, morphed into Pacific Bell, and PacBell, later becoming ATT, that’s where my retirement and benefits come from today.
My second job after high school was at the Phone Company. I skipped going to college and dropping out. I attended several programming courses that ultimately lead be into the Information Technology filed.
Started out as lineman and then splicer. The lineman job has not changed over the years, but the splicer job has had several technology changes and fiber has replaced the copper wires.
Worked several years in accounting as a computer operator. It’s interesting to compare the size of an IBM 1401 and IBM 370 size back then to what goes on desktop and smartphone, and cloud computing.
I also spent several years in the business office talking with customers regarding billing, starting service and stopping service.
My next stop was in Installation and Repair visiting customers home and businesses. This job allowed me to be out of the office and meeting customers face to face. Providing customers with a new service, fixing service which was not working. As is today with many computer fixes, a high percentage of self-inflicted issues, they were back then for phone repairs. Anything from a cat or dog who chewed cords to sprinklers miss adjusted to water the wrong spot. I enjoyed meeting many of the people I would have spoken to over the phone in the past.
My intro to Technology
In 1981 I began my career in Information Technology. First computer was a KayPro running CPM, this was the precursor to DOS and LANMAN. Later Windows can along with the first version of 3.0, then 3.1 and 3.11.
I recall a DOS bat file that changed the config.sys file on a laptop from a docked device with an ethernet card to a mobile device that was using a modem to dial a dial-up connection to reach the internet.
I had two of the greatest mentors at PacBell, Dave and David. These guys where always there to assist me, answer questions and fix the stuff I screwed up. These guys were my heroes in the technology field. They taught me a lot about technology and that they were always ready to help me. I have through my career and in life applied the silent life lessons they taught be through how they treated me and behaved
My first deployment of computers were IBM PC, there were several executives that wanted an exception to have Apple computers, some things never change, as I see this today many years later.
Internet in my home, with gopher search, then Netscape and later Google, neighbor kids would ask to come over and wanted to school research at our home. We lived on a cul-de-sac, had a pool and were the hangout spot for many of the kids in the neighborhood. The kids in our neighbor were respectful and polite.
In 1997 ATT made me and others an offer we could not refuse. Many companies have made the same offers in the past and even to this day. They added the numbers of years needed to equal full retirement, and we were free to seek other employment. I was 45 years old that year and had what I thought was 20 more years to retire.
I accepted the ATT early buyout offer. Ended ATT’s job on Friday and selected one of several offers to start work on Monday. I worked for two different jobs one a contractor and one a network engineer.
After ATT retirement Jobs
The first job I took was a System Administrator working on disaster recovery for the newly released Exchange Server. My job was to test and document building an exchange environment, then destroying it, and recovering it from a backup. I enjoyed the process of building, destroying, and resurrecting computer environments. Learned a lot at this position. And as this position ended on Friday, I was off to a new adventure.
Monday I started a job as a Network Engineer installing of all things 9600 baud banks of dial-up lines so companies could support remove workers and sales forces. I would typically fly to 3–5 customers locations per week and install equipment that ranged from $12,000 to $50,000 at the customer site. Many of the customer had ordered one or more T1 lines which connected to the modem banks. Each T1 was connected to one card containing 23 modems. This was back in 1998, a little over 20 years ago. Dial up to places like AOL and others has been replaced with the direct internet connections.
Owning homes in the Bay Area.
First one purchased for $100,000, about 1200 square foot and sold 18 months later for $167,000. Second one purchased for $225,000, 2000 square feet sold 10 years later for $370,000. They both are worth today over one million. Oddly, the first home is worth more than the second one. Go figure the market is what the market wants to be.
Off to a new adventure
I lot of change happened in the Silicon Valley in my 46 years, but in Aug of 1998 we started a new adventure in the Seattle Area.
Moving the the Seattle area in 1998.
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Originally published at www.rogerskibowski.com.