Our first computer was a Swan PC that cost a thousand dollars, which seemed like a good deal because it had a 30 MB hard drive, rather than the 20 MB that was common at the time. It came with a tiny black-and-white monitor that died and had to be replaced under warranty several times. To back it up, a big stack of floppy disks was needed. We thought it was great anyway.
Settling into life as a young married couple had its ups and downs, but mostly ups. This year we moved from a small apartment into a nicer townhouse, with plans to buy a house and start a family in the near future.
One of the things our friends found amusing about us in college was that we gave each other stuffed animals, often in pairs. We also had a stuffed dog, affectionately known as “the Mutt,” which was a gift from a relative. Before the Internet, it wasn’t easy to search for things like that; but just by chance, a mate for the Mutt turned up at an odd-lots store and became the She-Mutt. We still have both of them decorating our home entertainment center.
Our first new car was a 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier. It had a few quirks, such as that this was the first year for which a center brake light was required, so it hadn’t been integrated into the design. Instead, a separate light was added on that stuck up behind the back seat, nicknamed the Cyclops light because it was so ugly. But overall, the car gave good service.
The most memorable event of this year was our engagement at Christmas. Instead of a conventional proposal, the ring was wrapped up in a Christmas gift box, which gave the impression that it would be a bracelet or necklace. Unexpectedly finding an engagement ring in the box was quite a surprise indeed, and a welcome one!
Automated teller machines were just coming into use while we were in college. To encourage people to use them more often, our bank had a contest in which some ATM receipts were marked as prize-winners. Most of the prizes were small promotional items like this bag, but we also had the good fortune to win a 19-inch color TV. That was a fabulous luxury for students in those days, replacing the black-and-white TV we’d been using.
We met in the video arcade on campus, where our favorite game was Mr. Do!
Featuring a clown that threw a power-ball to disintegrate hungry monsters or dropped apples to squish them, this game had enough quirky twists to keep it interesting. An apple might break to reveal a lucky diamond inside, which was worth a free game if the clown could get to the diamond before it vanished. We felt as if we had “won the diamond” by being lucky enough to find each other!