Sunday, November 05, 2006

Xerox & a computer graphics geek in the making: my mom & a young Steven Spielberg

My Mother pictured in front of Scientific Data Systems in California, 1965

My folks met in California in '67 (-on a blind date through Uncle Donnie who loves those little caramel candies he gave us kids). But that long story follows this story when kids weren't even a flirtation.

Mom then worked in Santa Monica Scientific Data Systems where company Vice President Arnold Spielberg oversaw the engineering department (where mom was secretary to good friend Essor Maso, head of scientific computer programming). She recalls seeing Mr. Spielberg's young son Steven, then age 20 or 21, visit his Dad at the office.

I love her memories of this; it's simple & not overly interactive. It's not like Steven walked up to my Mom & said 'Hey, wanna a coffee?' But it's the era, it's when computers & transistors were on the cusp of major influence. There weren't college degrees for computer science; according to mom - she worked with brilliant people teaching themselves how to program with then new languages like Fortran & COBOL. The programmers forged computer programming on the fly.

And this young volcano of creativity name Steven just walked in to visit his Dad for lunch sometimes. Nice, neighborly.

Steven Spielberg already had made Amblin' and Firelight by then (which led to Close Encounters). Mom wondered if he'd ever ask his Dad for cash at those visits for next projects.

Now that's a father-son talk to envision...:

Young Steven: C'mon dad - it'll have space ships and science and kids and aliens; it'll be like NASA research but the aliens hug.

Dad Arnold: Um, son I'm unsure where this'll lead long term, I mean the movies? aliens again? Why not do a nice film, a documentary, on the data chip...

Last night Mom and I discussed these memories again & shared one of those long talks where the topics first seemed unrelated but later formed an unforeseen map of how life emerges.



Anonymous Andy Coon said...

Jill, I love that story thanks for sharing.

8:31 AM  

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