Daily Jim pic 28

ancient schoolhouse near Denton, Montana by James L. Kramer
It appears that I inadvertently deleted the e-mail this was attached to, so I’m thin on details, but I believe this is the schoolhouse that Jim’s grandfather-in-law attended. We’ll see a little more of it shortly. We’re back in Montana, by the way.

Meanwhile, I’m jealous. I would love for any of the schools that I attended to be this decrepit; obviously I don’t have fond memories of my school days. I would probably have even less fond ones had I attended something like this, but that’s perspective – I went to school mostly in the 70s, and while I was in a rather stagnant farming area, it wasn’t this bad – you can’t get much more Laura-Ingalls, can you? We at least had filmstrip projectors, though you had to manually advance the frames (bong.)

For my legions of younger followers, I’ll expand on that a little: some slides were not individual pieces of film but instead a whole roll undivided, which would be run through a projector and advanced one frame at a time, thus a filmstrip. The related part was usually a cassette tape, which contained the instructional/explanatory audio and a tone to cue the operator to advance. This is where all of the terminology of Powerpoint presentations came from, much later on.

Okay, odd memories time. The computer revolution was just beginning to take place in my latter years of high school, though not really at my high school. Nonetheless, we had a pair of computer terminals, one of which wasn’t even connected to a monitor: it had a noisy printer instead, so yes, everything that you typed, and every response to commands, was printed out one letter at a time – I mean, fairly quickly, but still, claklaklaklaklaklak. No shit. It was a hell of a way to play games.

The one that did have a monitor, though, was connected real-time to the computer lab at the trade school twenty-some kilometers away, and you could direct message people within the class, which was a hoot at the time (I honestly don’t know the class structure that permitted this, but I was never accused of being disruptive.) Yes, this was a precursor to texting, and before that instant-messaging, and was my first experience with the peculiar properties of communicating with total strangers in text messages. I was fairly popular in that milieu, and had people asking if I was around – at a time when my face-to-face interactions were anything but (hard as that may be to believe, but the glamor of bug photography was still in the future.) When you have a little time to formulate a response, you can be more clever than conversation permits, for most of us, anyway, and while this wasn’t exactly flirting, it had largely the same effect. Later on when AOL Instant Messenger was the way everyone was communicating, it happened again with the classmates of a friend who all used her account; they wanted to know who I was, undoubtedly not picturing me in anything like an accurate manner. It’s really weird how fascinated someone can get with someone else over a bare minimum of information, filling in the missing bits through sheer imagination.

And now, I barely text, and never use chatrooms or any such social media – dunno why. Just seemed to leave it behind.

Getting back to the old schoolhouse, do you think the students there used to leave messages on the little chalkboards for kids on different schedules? Maybe even, “Draw a picture of your ankles” when things started to heat up?

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