It was spring 1969. I was finishing by Junior undergraduate year in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB and had been married already one year. I spent the previous summer cleaning student apartments and needed a summer job so that we could continue to live in Santa Barbara. Various options didn't pan out, and I was faced with only two choices: clean student apartments again or move to the San Francisco Bay Area for the summer where I was certain to get a temporary job in home construction -- something I'd done in several previous summers. I went to the cleaning service and signed up, but couldn't face another summer of filthy kitchens, cat feces, flea infestations, and backed-up sewers.

Out of sheer desperation I picked up the Yellow Pages. I was a mathematician-to-be, and so maybe there was something listed under Mathematicians that might lean more toward my academic interests rather than physical abilities. Surprised to find any entries under Mathematicians at all -- there were actually two --I called both and made appointments for interviews. The first was a time-sharing company (no, not condos -- computer time on large mainframes). They were looking for a salesman and that wasn't in my resume. One down and one left to go. I drove up into the Santa Barbara hills to a place called the Riviera. Nestled in the back was a small company called Kramer Research Inc.

I walked in and met with the President, Dr. Henry Kramer. A UC Berkeley Math PhD, he had decided that the teaching life was not for him and instead followed a more independent path as a researcher. His company was using a minicomputer (this was 1969) to try to read the hand written numerals in the amount field on personal checks. His company had just received hardware and needed a programmer. I knew Fortran but would have to learn assembly code. No problem. We had a nice chat, and I was hired as a programmer. A few days later I found out that Dr. Kramer thought I was a graduate student send by the Math department in response to a job posting at the UCSB Placement Office. I hadn't seen it (and anyway I was an undergraduate!). When I told him I discovered him in the Yellow Pages he told me he barely remembered making the listing: he said he got it by virtue of having a business phone and not knowing what to call his enterprise, so he listed it under Mathematicians -- his academic calling.

This turned out to be the job that changed by life. And Dr, Kramer's wisdom to send me back to UCSB to finish my degree a year later showed his deep understanding of the value of education to my future career. I didn't end up as a Mathematician, but soon after this experience adopted the emergent field of Computer Science.