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Nevertheless, Jan Coded

I apologize for this being late. I have kept up with and read through some of the #shecoded stories. I also apologize that this may not fit the regular definition of the tag. However, I would like to tell you a story from history about someone very close to me that coded.

I married my high school sweetheart, Jan. She became a book keeper in banking and by the mid-1980's rose to the manager of the bond operations division of a major Texas bank. She was in charge of making sure that what the bond traders bought and sold was properly accounted for and that bond owners received their dividends and payments.

No, she was not a software developer or a programmer per se. She had learned BASIC because we bought an Atari 600. She and I would stay up late at night and write programs on the Atari to do things we needed. She wrote as much as I did. I am still proud of the application we made to make mailing labels for a dot matrix printer we owned.

Her bank purchased a Wang minicomputer for the bond operations department. The software was in BASIC. It helped modernize and make efficient their ability to maintain the bond operations.

As manager, one of her duties, because she knew and could code in BASIC was to handle the software updates. Back then, most minicomputers received updates in the form of tapes that had to be loaded. However, her Wang did not receive them this way, or they were not complete.

Jan would spend long hours after work sitting at a terminal typing in software updates and changes received in paper form or through a long distance phone call to Wang in California (at least that's where I remember Wang being located). Then she had to test those updated lines of code to be certain they worked.

Without her skill at BASIC, that would have been quite difficult and possibly costly if the bank had to hire someone else or have Wang send technicians to do updates.

In 1986 or so, a bubble in the Texas real estate market burst and many banks were sold out to other banks. Jan's was one of those banks. The new owners sent in their management team that was very, shall we say, misogynistic? Jan's new vice president made it very clear, in a manner where he couldn't be caught, that a woman should not hold her position. After taking a long weekend, she resigned and pretty much never returned to banking.

I did not find out about her experiences coding in BASIC to keep her minicomputer up to date until several years later when PC's became a thing. I have many reasons to be proud of her after all these years; yet, for that time in the middle of a bad situation, nevertheless, Jan coded.

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