When I look back on a lifetime of collected incidents and events, there are a few rare moments I can recount in which I learned a significant life lesson. I was reminded of one poignant memory late Wednesday afternoon upon the untimely passing of the brilliant Steve Jobs. Christmas morning, 1983, I was ten years old. By all accounts, I was quite a pleasant child (at that age in any case), fairly well mannered, and appreciative. There was a singular gift that I had specifically asked for that Christmas, The Game of Life. My mother was particularly adapt at gift giving, and I knew that I would find this much anticipated present under the tree. It struck me that there were fewer presents than normal that year, but in all honesty that stemmed far more from my observant nature than greed. Until my seven year old sister opened The Game of Life. I was devastated. I asked her if I would be able to play it with her, and she responded with a defiant “No!”. Then I was angry, furious in fact. Despite the fact that I had received a still generous assortment of presents.
I sat miserable and sulking on Christmas morning. My Dad asked me if I would go to the family room to bring him the TV Guide. I refused. I believe I was outright hostile. He finally coerced me somehow to drag myself to the other room. And there it was, a sparkly new Apple IIe computer, an incredibly generous gift for a terribly ungracious daughter. I was overjoyed, I knew exactly how special this object was. I was an enthusiastic member of the Computer Club at school (where I believe there were a grand total of two Apple IIs), and I knew not a single person who owned one. Years later, my parents shared that they had spent in the realm of $3000, really still an exorbitant sum, even twenty-eight years later. And that they gave my sister The Game of Life (which had originally been intended for me), as her collection of gifts seemed somewhat paltry in comparison.
Today, my Apple Computer remains the most awe inspiring and consequential gift I have ever received. With it came the belief that my parents were investing in my future, the knowledge that their daughters could excel in math and science, and that we were the children of the future. The computer was a beautiful piece of technology and I used it for years. Along with the computer came a couple of stickers, the infamous rainbow striped apple on a clear background. One of those I saved for years, and years, long after the computer itself became obsolete. Today I realize that to me that image symbolized the belief my parents had bestowed in me, and the important life lessons I had learned that fateful Christmas morning. To be gracious in the face of disappointment. In life not everything will be exactly equal, but it will usually be fair.