From a letter sent in 1996

It seems hard to imagine now, but back in 1996 we actually sent letters to people we cared about. You know the things – sheets of paper with writing on that were put in an envelope with an address on the front and with a stamp in the top right hand corner. You dropped them in a post box and a day or so later your intended recipient was able to read what you had sent.

In 1996 I was a computer user and had been for more than a decade. But the internet hadn’t reached me. I used what I still rate as one of the best ever computers – an Acorn A3000. I could be creative with that. I could use a word processor and desk top publishing software. I could also use the absolutely fantastic ‘Draw’ program that came with the computer. My letters were produced in this way – a pity in a way for that meant they were not hand written, but back in 1996 I was well up with the times in doing what I did.

One letter I sent had this image incorporated in it.


That’s meant to represent me standing on a skateboard and using a diablo. The grey line across it is a result of being on a folded piece of paper for close on twenty years.

The image was 100% produced by me on that wonderful Acorn Draw program. Yes, it is simple and the printer quality was not brill, but I was quite pleased with it.

But me on a skateboard doesn’t ring all that true. You’d have to have the caption with it. It said ‘Teacher Training Day’. For yes, I was once, long ago it feels now, a school teacher and these were activities we had to indulge in at a training day. This was a day in which the school was closed to pupils and the staff enhanced their skills.

We were learning, or being reminded, that people have different centres of intelligence. I was proving I had physical intelligence by being able to learn a new skill.

The chances are it never made much difference to teaching, but in my letter I reported that I thought it had been a good and worthwhile day. As I had a tendency to regard many of our training days as a waste of time, that was rare praise from me. I hope it made me think about different ways in which I could get across to the youngsters. I hope it made a small difference.

At least after the event I practised some computer skills!


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