Buffalo Nickel

Today’s Daily Prompt on The Daily Post is Buffalo Nickel or with a little more definition:

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

1983 Lincoln Head Penny

Ah, 1983, to return to that time 30 years ago is bitter sweet. I was 16 going on 17, finishing up my junior year in high school and about to start that final year before moving off to college. I had just decided I actually wanted to go to college so I was pushing myself to get caught up with all my classes needed to graduate properly. Up until my sophomore year I was set to become a draftsman, content to spend my days putting another’s ideas on paper.

That all changed a year earlier when I discovered model rockets. Now I wanted to become an aerospace engineer and work for NASA (P.S., I got close, I did become an aerospace engineer but I work for a company that manufactures turbine blades for aircraft engines). I spent most of 1983 with my head in the clouds. I was building rockets, launching them out in the field and reading everything I could get my hands on about space, rockets, NASA and of course, science fiction.

My school days were spent deep in the math and sciences. I had a lot of ground to make up but I did pull through. It was good for me. This would also be the year I discovered computers. I took a BASIC programming class and was hooked! I spent every free moment on the computers in the library (now kids, these were some of the first computers made, Commodore PET computers. LOL). I also talked my uncle into helping me buy a Commodore VIC-20! I even splurged for the 8Kb expansion (yes, you read that right 8Kb!).

I spent a lot of sleepless nights programming that old VIC-20. I learned a lot about programming, about the BASIC programming language and computers. I even was able to program my own games. I ended up taking that thing to college my first year (it didn’t last long, the college had a mainframe!).

I grew up on a farm so I also spent a lot of my time outside. There were chores to do, cows to tend to and crops to work on. I also was quite the hunter. When the season opened on September 1st you wouldn’t be able to find me once I got home from school until the sun went down. I’d grab the gun and go walking through the woods looking for game. It was a great balancing act! Chores, school work, reading, computers, rockets, hunting… damn, those were some GREAT times!

Ha, I wasn’t so sure about this daily prompt, but I love this one! What a trip down memory lane. I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks for traveling with me.


About Mike

I'm an Engineer most of the time but if I can sneak away from the job I enjoy visiting/reading about/learning everything Disney, playing video games as long as I can stop and think about them, reading science fiction and my newest fascination is photography.
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14 Responses to Buffalo Nickel

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  4. Gail says:

    You have a very impressive educational background. My oldest son just graduated last year with his aerospace engineering degree. He’s in graduate school now. My youngest son is a sophomore in aerospace engineering but just decided he’s switching to Industrial and Systems engineering (whatever that is)!
    I enjoyed reading this post.

    • Thank you Gail! The degree and education might get your foot in the door but it is who you are and what type of worker you are that will keep you there. I actually followed a path similar to your youngest. After graduating with the aerospace degree I stayed for graduate school since in the late 80′s I couldn’t find a job. I went for mechanical engineering with a concentration in systems engineering which is basically industrial and mechanical combined. Systems engineering, at least back when I was in school, was about the manufacturing process, optimization, design, logistics, etc. Basically, big picture puzzle solving. You get involved with everything. Its very cool!

      • Gail says:

        Interesting! Thanks for the info. My oldest son has not been able to find a job while working on his master’s. His concentrations is Missile Systems. He was told it is the economy and also that more jobs would become available after the election (?), but no luck so far. It seems they all want someone with experience, even the jobs that say entry level position or that say the only requirement is a Bachelors of Science in Engineering. His classmates have all had trouble too.

        My youngest likes helping people. He was told that Industrial and Systems would be more of a “people helping” branch of engineering than the aerospace would be. Do you agree? His advisor told him most students who are unhappy in aerospace end up loving Industrial and Systems. I hope that’s true because I think he has made up his mind to switch.

      • I spend most of my day out on the manufacturing floor working with everyone solving problems. I think your youngest will chose wisely. It is tough out there right now. Hopefully your oldest will get lucky as he nears the completion of his masters.

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