You are reading this sentence because of my father.
I remember telnetting to an IRC chat room in 1994. My father sat beside me in front of a VAX terminal in the basement of the Clark University library, and he was shocked at my typing back and forth with college students in other states. One of my virtual friends, Dara, a nursing major at Purdue, later met me in person — and Dad’s eyebrows raised again, pondering the benefits and ramifications of enhancing the legal world with the internet.
Dad was a forward-thinking attorney who helped build a computer network for his law firm. He was one of the first lawyers to do this in our Boston suburb.
Introducing me to computers in the early 1980s and showing me how to use a 300-baud modem and dial to sites like CompuServe and Prodigy to transfer files with other users logged in, the world wide web was a new concept for Dad to grasp. He wanted to play with it, and he took over the keyboard on that spring day in 1994 — fumbling his fingers over this key and that, asking me how to do what I had done.
It was a special moment, as we bonded in a way we had done many times before around the subject of technology. The difference that day, unlike my pre-teen days learning LOGO and BASIC, is I guided him.
On the weekend of my summer break in May 1995, Dad died. A sudden heart attack ended his life at 46.
Was it fate that my first post-college job was working as a webmaster? Or, that I ran into and befriended Roy Krantz, his computer networking guide, at a social media networking event last year?
In the weeks after Dad’s death, my family established a scholarship fund in his name — at the local high school where my sister and I attended and acted in school plays. Dad loved to act, and watch us on stage. My mother, sister, and I have given away money from this fund every year.
I recently celebrated this blog’s third anniversary and I remarked the blog’s founding was the 12th anniversary of his death. Quite the posthumous connection to the web.
Marking 15 years since Dad’s death and the scholarship fund we created that is running dry, I turned to FirstGiving and their ability to offer a hosted solution for nonprofit fundraising.
In the name of my father and his computer lessons early on that directly led to my interest in creating this blog, perhaps you might be motivated to visit BudHerzog.org to give a small donation to help offset the cost of education for the fund’s recipients? All donations are tax deductible. Maybe you could share this plea with your friends and family by email or Twitter or some other online means?