Internet has changed quality of life

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, July 8, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
I have a few items of interest from 1973 and then I want to tell you
about the Internet.
The Miss Little Queen that year was Cathy Smith, the daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. John E. Smith.
Sherry Robinson, former ECHS and Auburn University grad, was selected Miss Lee County in the Miss Alabama Contest in Birmingham.
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Robinson, she took top honors in the talent contest.
A gala Grand Opening was held at The Adams Plaza Shopping Center in the fall
of 1973. Piggly Wiggly, Revco Drug Store and TG&Y Family Center were the main anchors in the Center. Jack Lovely transferred from Oklahoma to manage TG&Y.
He remained with that company for a number of years until his retirement. He spent those retirement years at his cottage at Bryant’s Landing until he returned to his native Oklahoma two years ago.
Well, for those of you my age who have not discovered the Internet yet you
might want to look into what it offers you, especially if you have retired
and often are unable to find a hobby or other interesting things to do.
Computer training and the Internet were not available when I was in
high school or college. In fact ,it was “light years” away. Fifteen years ago
I was required to use a computer in my work. This created great concern
for me, as I simply did not know how to properly use the computer. With the
helpful training of a 16-year-old young man at $25 an hour for a few weeks,
I soon felt the positive results of his “crash course” efforts.
I found myself becoming more comfortable in this new endeavor each time I turned the computer on.
In high school I learned to type on the old Royal manual typewriter. In
fact, prior to the introduction of the computer, news reporters and editors
used these old typewriters to type up their news stories. The “type setter”
would then take the reporter’s typed copy and set it up for print. It really
wasn’t until the 70s and 80s that the new computer method was put into
I can still see Phil Sokol, Bob Morrisette and Martin Ritchie sitting
at their desks using the old “Royal” typewriter to write news for The
Advance back in those days. It seemed that all three of them practiced what
we call “hunt and peck.” That term means they used one finger at a time.
But, they could turn out stories as fast as some computer writers today. I
felt somewhat bad that my sports writing lagged behind these three, as I had
not developed the speed and accuracy they possessed.
They taught me a lot
that became very meaningful to me.
But getting back to the Internet, I am now convinced it is one of the most important “inventions” of our time. There are countless things if offers.
For instance, I can print my own stamps without having to go to the
post office to buy them. I wonder what “C” Williams, our postmaster here for
many years, would think of this if he were living now. He never hesitated to
talk to me about sports or his golf game when I went into the post office to
get stamps. Some say he could hit a golf ball swinging from the left side as
well as the right side.
I can even print out coupons for my wife to use on her shopping
sprees. I can develop, receive and email photos. You may ask what is e-mail.
It is electronic mail that can be sent and received in only a few seconds. I
can do research without having to use an encyclopedia. I believe e-mail will
be as common as the telephone in the not too distance future.
Another thing the Internet provides is sports. I can sit at my computer
and watch major league baseball and college football-just like watching TV.
Two weather sites, which contain valuable severe weather radar data,
hurricane-tracking maps and National Weather information used in my work,
are locked into my “favorites.”
I have always had a “gamble” instinct and I find the Internet allows
me to “dabble” on the day trade stock market, not very excessively, of
course, as one must use moderation when doing this. Always consult a
stockbroker for heavy investments. Many I know are professional day traders who do very well. Not just day trading, but countless farmers and businessmen use the Internet to buy and sell futures and other farm related stocks.
I know very little about e-Bay, but I have friends, such as Dan Allen
Currie, who actually make good money buying and selling on this Web site.
Quite a contrast to older days when “ole timey auctions” were popular. I
liked to hear the talented auctioneer selling items in that fast talking
manner. (Lee Roy Van Dyke and his vocal rendition of “The Auctioneer” was
the best I ever heard). In junior high school days they would sometimes let
me be the auctioneer at “sock suppers,” but I was no Lee Roy Van Dyke. That’s where, as many of you know, the girls prepared food and placed it inside
the sock in hopes their boyfriend would bid on it, buy it and the two would
eat the food together.
Online college courses are one of the newest features on the Internet.
Some colleges have made available all the necessary courses needed for a
full bachelor’s degree. Can you imagine the money saved by staying at home and
attending college on the Internet? This feature has blossomed probably more
than any Internet program. Major companies today are paying the fees for key
employees, especially those without college training to take online courses.
These companies realize their employees will become more valuable
to them. Only a few weeks ago I read where online high school courses are
becoming available. In fact, I would like my to create my own Web site, to
help those who do not understand simple parts of speech and sentences, sentencing diagramming and basic roots of English like nouns, verbs,
adjectives, adverbs, etc. So many graduates go into the world today without
the knowledge of these basic skills.
There are Internet sites that offer old movies and music completely free of charge. (I write about this in one of my columns). Many people bank online.
This is getting bigger each day. I pay some of my bills online right from my online banking account. There are many others who do the same.
One can place orders for merchandise online. There is a site that carries
you back to your old high school classmates. There you can see photos and
read stories about your school days. Another Web site provides medical
information. You’ll find answers to many health problems.
WebMD is a good site for this, but be sure your doctor is your first option before considering solving medical problems on your own.
Well, I hope today’s column has not been too personal.
I do know that many find it frustrating to adjust after having worked a “lifetime” and then are unable to uncover something to do as opposed to just “sitting around the
house.” You probably know of some who fit into this category. And then
there are others who find contentment in such things as gardening, woodworking and traveling.
This, too, is great. I have a retired friend in
Louisiana who makes “Cajun Meal.” He uses special secret ingredients, packages it and sells it to off shore oilrigs.
He has given me many
packages of it over the years.
My wife uses it in her cooking and it’s hard to beat that famous “Cajun” taste.
If one still has good health after retirement, then he or she is limited only by his or her imagination and desire to learn new things.
Was it not J. C. Penny who rejuvenated his career in his “old age?”
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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