07 September 2013


It is, perhaps, almost universally the case that parents do not appreciate the implications of the maturation of their children until the process has long ceased to be under their control.  By the end of the year from mid-1992 until mid-1993:

  • Johnny was 18
  • Helen was 16
  • Eddie was 13
  • Adele was 11
Your children are small and you think of them as your children.  They will go to this or that school, or perhaps be home-schooled.  They may watch this or that television programme, but not some other.  But they are growing.  They are connecting to the world.  They have friends.  They engage in activities that you know nothing of (I expect my children, reading this, to be saying to themselves, "Dad, you don't know the half of it!" :-)).

Johnny finished high school at the end of 1993, and, I think, got a job working at Pukekohe Kentucky Fried Chicken, as a cook - he had, indeed, other plans, but in the meantime, he had a job.

Helen, by now, was pretty clearly going to go to University and major in flute.  It was in 1993, I think, that she began lessons with Uwe Grodd - which was to have wider consequences for Adele and for me.

Eddie and Adele were still at home, home-schooled by Susan - so, for the matter of that, was Helen.  But all were increasingly independent.

And my life was changing as well.  Sometime in this year my job with Glenn Archibald ended.  At the start of my work there, electronic tax-filing in New Zealand was pretty primitive.  Glenn had hired me to connect his tax business to the IRD, so that he could file electronically.  There was one commercial product available, but it was very expensive (you had to buy their whole tax-management suite of software).

Sometime around the end of 1992 (September, my memory tells me), he enthusiastically called together his IT staff (me, his son Grant, and Patrick Sweetman, a database administrator) and asked us what would be involved in making his software setup commercial.

We rather blanched, I think, at the fact that he clearly had no idea of the size of such a project.  We met together for an hour or so, made some plans, and came up with a figure (how I don't know) of what it might cost him initially before he could start making money: $250,000 (or perhaps it was smaller - I don't really recall - but it was large).

That, I think, was about 11AM on a Saturday.  At 1PM I went home (four hours early).  I never came back.

Much was in a state of flux, therefore.  Our children were beginning to show signs that they would not be with us indefinitely.  I was now free on Saturdays.  And things were changing at the University.  Sometime before this - perhaps 1991? - the people at our Computer Centre had involved the University in connexions to the rest of New Zealand and the world - what has come to be known as the Internet.  We had by now got e-mail going in the Business School.  I was quite busy with that - but it also became possible to participate in other Internet activities besides e-mail.  I discovered a set of discussion groups on what was called usenet - and, in particular, a group on usenet called Christia.  Most participants on Christia were Protestants, but not all.  There were also a few Catholics.

No comments: