Welcome to Margieís

(a homework assignment in my first Java class)


Iím a Pittsburgher born and bred; Iíve lived between the Allegheny and the Monongahela all my life, except for six years during and right after college. Who could ask for anything more?

I graduated from Antioch College in 1964. In the middle of campus was a memorial to the first president of the college, famous 19th-century educator Horace Mann , who admonished students to ďBe ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanityĒ. I am still looking for the right battle.

I trained to teach elementary school, probably because my motherís unfulfilled dream was to be an English teacher. Unfortunately, I had no talent for crowd control. After a brief stint teaching first grade, I sought work manipulating words and numbers instead of little kids. I remembered what my "ex-" had told me about a strange new job he had at IBM in the early 60ís, called programming. I took a 3-month course in Assembler and COBOL at a technical school and spent 20 years explaining to everyone that no, programmers didnít work for a radio station or decide TV schedules.

For 30 years, big companies paid me to play with their giant computers. Now Iím an excellent practitioner of many skills that nobody wants to have practiced anymore. I took a buyout from a major health-insurance company in 1996 and worked as a "temp" systems analyst/programmer on Y2K revisions until the end of 1999. The year 2000 began with a series of earthquakes in the COBOL community in Pittsburgh, which included outsourcing many jobs to India and sudden decisions to switch from main-frame centered programs to online "object-oriented design", and I've been retired ever since. I loved my work, but not getting up in the morning until I want to is worth everything!

My favorite avocation is reading; in second place is collecting books. I volunteer at my local library, producing the quarterly newsletter. You may see the newsletter by clicking on Friends and then clicking on the NEWSLETTER button. I developed a comprehensive guide to charitable book sales and used book stores in Allegheny County, which I circulated to libraries, book dealers, and individuals. When hardcopy and emailed versions of the BookSaleList became too combersome, I developed a website for it. [As of April, 2013, I haven't produced a new edition of this BookSaleList since the end of 2008, but I still hope to resume the activity "soon".] Gardening, woodworking, watching TV, proofreading random bits of writing and gratuitously pointing out the errors, and playing with my computers occupy the rest of my free time.

I have one child, a beautiful redhead named Serena, who can teach anybody anything. She hated high school so much that she didnít start college until almost two years after graduation, but my motherís genes finally gained the upper hand. Serena has a B.A. in linguistics and a masterís in elementary education, which led her to three years of teaching English as a Second Language in public schools in Allegheny County. Now she tutors ESL students and conducts seminars for an agency that trains workers for local industries. She also started an editing and proofreading business, so I could finally see my own genes at work.

last revised: 04/22/13
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