Monday, January 7, 2008

IBM Base Camp

Some of you know that I'm fond of Chicago. There are a lot of places I'd like to take the boys. Chicago is on the list for sure.

I'd never been to Chicago or paid it any attention until the summer of 1991. No sooner did I get settled into my new job at IBM RTP when Don let me know that I needed to go to IBM Base Camp FOR A MONTH, and it was in Chicago. I have to say that that was a pretty scary prospect. I was barely settled in my new apartment and that was traumatic enough!

So, 6/10 - 7/2 of 1991, I was in Chicago attending base camp. All that really means is that I was attending an extended education class. They put me and a bunch of other students from all over the country up in one of the high rise tower apartments, gave us $36 a day to live on, and told us to report Monday - Friday 9-5 to the big black IBM buidling over by the lake.

I got there and got settled in OK. We had roommates. Rothie (don't remember her last name) was mine. Let's just say that she made sure I was OK. Being in Chicago was a bit scary, and she was a bit older, and kindof motherly.

Ya know, and don't tell Don, but I don't remember one darn thing they taught me in that class. I can barely remember even being in the classroom even though I reported every day all day. I do know that on $36 a day that I was able to eat at a bunch of nice restaurants in Chicago including prime rib at the Chicago Chop House. We ate at Dick's Last Resort and Hard Rock and lots of other places too. Rothie and I went to the Brookfield Zoo one Saturday. We spent a lot of time walking between the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building. And, of course, we went up to the top of the Sears Tower and went on the observation deck. IT WAS FUN! There was even a boat ride out on the lake!

OK, so maybe they did talk a bit about system 390 assembler code and how to read that yellow card thingy in class. I tried to pay attention, honest.

I notice in the shot below that I'm carrying the case I had my Minolta 110 camera in. That must have been what I took these shots with!

Over the years I've traveled back to Chicago several times on IBM business. The InfoMan product frequently held user group conferences there. It continues to be one of my favorite cities.

1 comment:

Don Miller said...

Ahh Chicago - My kind of town. Grant Park fountain, Sears Tower, John Handcock building which still to this day has not been un-crated, the water tower, and seeing my 1st Picasso (the sculpture in one of Maryann pictures). Deep dish Piazza before deep dish was cool. Wrigley field with no lights. The Field Museum. "Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Pepsi" - wow - Chicago is now on my list of places to go back to.

The IBM building's address is One State Street. That building is dead center of Chicago from the street & avenue numbering scheme point of view. All street and avenue are referenced to State Street and the Chicago River which flows in front of the IBM building. I was told back in 1977 when I went to base class there IBM paid plenty for that choice building spot. I was in the 15th floor break room in August 1977 when they announced on the PA Elvis had died. I sat there numb staring east out the window seeing the deep blue green lake Michigan feeling close to him from that high up.

I remember being there in January 1984 for software cross training and having to hold onto ropes for dear life as the wind came funneling down the Chicago river. The river has a crook in it right at the IBM building. IBM put ropes out so you wouldn't take flight. The plaza is the windiest place in Chicago according to the news media. What you feel there in January is far-far beyond wind chill. It's wind frozen at least.

Anyway, thanks Maryann for sharing this.