mac128When we got back from Bangladesh we bought an old house on Myrtle Street in St. Thomas, probably still the house that I love best. After spending a couple of years fixing up the downstairs so we could live in it, we turned our attention to the attic and built a bedroom/playroom for our boys. Pam and I finished and the boys moved in probably around ’89 or ’90. Shortly after that we bought them the first of what was going to be a long line of computers. I think we paid around $100 for it, and it wasn’t much, but it was a real computer, not a game system.

The next morning I went up to the attic to use the computer and found it lying in pieces on the floor. I was speechless. I had looked forward to owning a proper computer for some time and here it was in pieces all over the attic floor. I was too stunned to be angry, but when I looked at Jon sitting among the pieces he turned toward me and with a cheery and confident smile and said “Don’t worry Dad, I know where all the pieces go.” And he did. He had it back together and working inside of an hour.

I could not believe it; I still can’t. I mean, I have got some technical competence. I have renovated three houses, two of which basically had to be gutted and Pam and I have done nearly all the work ourselves. But I couldn’t have taken a computer apart when I was 10 and put it back together. Heck, I can’t do it at 60. But Jon could. The next computer came along pretty fast after that. The one in the picture isn’t it. We don’t have those pictures in Malaysia, but this is close. That was the last Mac we bought, the rest were all PCs because by now our son’s interest was getting serious and we wanted to make sure that he was familiar with Microsoft products, because that is where the jobs were going to be.

He had his own business when he was 14, installing software and setting up computers for new buyers. He wasn’t old enough to drive then, so Pam and I would have to drive him around to clients’ houses to do the work. Years after Jon went off to college some of his old customers would call the house looking for Jon to help them with a computer problem. They hadn’t been able to find anyone else who was as knowledgeable as he was.

When he was 17 he got a contract with the St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital to set up a computer network for them and used the money to buy a state-of-the-art computer system for himself for college. At Conestoga in Kitchener he took a full course load and worked two jobs, one at Future Shop and one at Rockwell not just to pay his own way, but to gain confidence and expertise in his chosen field. While he was at Rockwell he wrote a program to run some machines that no one else at the company had even thought of. He translated that experience into the first of many positions in IT both in Canada and down in the States.

But today is the payoff; Jon has accepted a position with Microsoft. This is not a position that he applied for. They came looking for him. This isn’t even the first time they’ve come looking, but Jon has been loyal to all the companies he worked for, and he was working on an important project the last time they came knocking and he said no. This time the offer was just too good, and he has accepted.

As you can tell from this post, we are inordinately proud of our son for how he has handled his career and of his drive for excellence. We are sure that he will be a real assest to Microsoft, and the experience will be good for him as well. Just so long as he doesn’t let them know he still has a Mac in his closet!

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