Today’s throwback goes back centuries. It is Rosh Hashanah, commonly called the Jewish New Year. It is a holy day, and one that calls for reflection. I’m in favor of that practice, as well as the practice of eating crisp fall apples dipped in sweet delicious honey. Enjoy one of my favorite holiday videos ever, and may you have a blessed year with your loved ones.
First off, I applied to colleges in the mid-1980’s, long before not only internet, but personal computers. Every application was paper, and had to be requested from the university (or just arrived in the mail unsolicited), Each one had to be filled out in ink, either by hand (frowned upon) or by typewriter. Of course if you made a mistake, it would show, even if you used correcting tape or fluid. Accuracy was important. So was lining up the printed lines on the application with your responses. It was easy to make even the most carefully thought out application appear haphazard and sloppy.
My son has the luxury of using the computer for his applications. His responses are neat and clean, and there’s a common application that many of the universities utilize, so he doesn’t have to input his data over and over. He can also word process his essays, then paste them into the appropriate fields depending on the school to which he’s applying. I can easily look over his work, and suggest minor edits that he’s likely to implement, since they don’t mean starting from scratch.
When I did applications, letters of reference had to be handed to my teachers, along with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes. Each university expected the letter to be composed on its own form, no photo-copies allowed. Test score reports and transcripts were handled in much the same way.
My son, on the other hand, just needs to login to the test score company to request score reports, and there’s another website that handles his transcripts. His teachers are happy to provide letters of reference, since they keep a file and copy and paste it as many times as are necessary. The whole process is fast, easy, and painless. Well, pretty painless. There are still costs involved, but the time and stress that are saved are immeasurable.
I wish all of today’s resources had been around when I was applying to colleges. I would have tried for more scholarships, for one thing. I would have saved a ton of time, for another. I’m glad my son has these resources. Now to sit back and wait for the results.
This weekend my city is hosting Comicon. For those who are unfamiliar with these events, it’s a convention built around comics. That’s the simplistic description, but really, it’s so much more. It’s a huge event with workshops, movies, parties, costumes, vendors, and more. I wouldn’t have thought it would be something I would ever attend, but I am, for the second time.
Last year my sweetheart discovered that there are many authors that attend these cons, and they give workshops and participate in discussion panels. The cost is way less than traditional writer’s workshops, and the atmosphere is incredible. Where else can you see Dr. Who rubbing shoulders with zombies, Han Solo, Pikachu, and Ninja Turtles?
I was never all that into comics as a kid. I did like the read the Sunday funnies, since they were printed in color. I always read Blondie, because it was the first one. I liked Garfield and Peanuts too, and the one panel comics, like Family Circus, Marmaduke, and Ziggy. Still, I rarely used my dime to buy a comic book at the store; I always preferred candy.
One summer, though, I got sick at sleep away camp. It was way up in the woods in Canada, and I think my parents may have been on a trip, but I don’t recall the exact details. I do remember that I was in the infirmary for a couple of days, and it was terribly boring. The only way to pass the time was with the stack of comic books that they had.
During that infirmary stay I came to appreciate the struggles of poor little Richie Rich. I also looked forward to my teenage years when I would hang out with the gang, just like Archie. Sarge and Beetle Bailey amused me without exposing me to the real struggles of Army life, and Prince Valiant, well, he was just boring aside from his funny haircut.
There were no superheroes that I recall. I would have read Batman or Superman or Spiderman, but they hadn’t made it to that little camp infirmary in the woods of Northern Ontario. I’m still not much of a comic reader, but I do get nostalgic thinking about those long ago comic books helping me pass the time.
Are you a comic reader? Were you as a child? What are your favorites?