I just received an email from a friend at one of the big FPGA companies. He's shortly going to be out of the office on vacation, so he ended his message which a cheery: "See you in 2009!"
That set my mind meandering along through rambling musings (it doesn't take much... just wind me up and watch me go...).
I remember graduating high school in the summer of 1975. That was an unusual summer in England because we got two straight weeks of sunshine (they're still talking about it over there ... I kid you not).
Oh, how I recall that long summer break separating the end of high school and the starting of college. I spent it hanging out with a crowd of friends; including my best friend "Shears" (my dad called him "Scissors"). Shears and I were inseparable. His real name was Mark Burkinshaw, so he first became known as "Billy Burkinshaw," then folks started calling him "Billy Shears" (from the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album), and then just "Shears" for short.
That was the summer that Shears and I went on a camping holiday with two girls (we shared one tent, they shared another... those were more innocent times). The song that kept playing on the radio that summer was "I'm not in love" by 10cc from their album "The Original Soundtrack." To this day, whenever I hear that song it takes me back to that idyllic summer...
Shears passed away a couple of years ago from a malignant brain tumor. As soon as I heard things were going "pear-shaped," I flew back to England to see him. The photo below (which I just remembered was on my backup disk while penning these words) was taken at an English country pub.
Shears is on the left. His red cap hides the fact that his head is shaved bald from a recent operation in which the surgeons had tried to remove the tumor for the second time, but it was progressing at too fast of a rate. Although he looks reasonably OK in this photo, Shears was going downhill fast. In fact, I believe this was the last time he managed to get out anywhere. He left us a couple of months later...
But that's not what I was planning on waffling on about. I remember how "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" we all were as 18-years old in 1975. At that time, we talked about the year 2000, which was still a quarter of a century away (remember that this was only 4 years after the introduction of the first microprocessor and 5 years after the first SRAM and DRAM chips were presented to the market).
Of course the years passed, as is their wont... 1980... 1990... 1995... 1998... 1999...
Do you remember the Y2K hoopla? Everyone thought the (computing) world would end. I remember Christmas of 2000 especially, because my dad was terminally ill with cancer. He'd been sick since the summer and I'd been bouncing back and forth between America and England visiting him.
I had planned on going back for Christmas anyway, but on a Friday evening a couple of weeks before I was due to set off, I was in my office when my mom called and simply said: "It's time to come home." Everyone else had gone for the evening, so I left a note of resignation on my bosses' desk, called the airport, and flew out the next morning (sometimes you have to do what you have to do).
As it happened, dad managed to hang on throughout Christmas and into the New Year. He was at home with us and we all saw the year 2000 in together as a family...
Good grief ... when I started this I intended only to ruminate on how fast time is flying by... I didn't mean to depress you or make you unhappy or anything... for myself I have only happy memories.
The point I actually wanted to make was that in 1975 the year 2000 seemed so far away ... but looking back it went by in a flash. When my friend said "see you in 2009" (which is how we started this blog) I thought to myself: "In a little over a year it will be the year 2010, which means we'll already be 1/10 of the way through the 21st century."
Who would have "thunk it"?
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.