Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Yin to my Yang
Thirty years ago this month (at 17), I won a speaking contest in a California statewide competition. Kathy Greene won a related statewide art competition. At the time I remember marveling at her use of color in oil paintings of California's missions. She recalled a geeky public speaker who could spin an interesting story.
On August 31, 1980, I was assigned to the Lagunita dorm at Stanford. So was Kathy Greene.
We started dating on September 1, 1980. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
Within 24 hours of our time together, I realized that she was the Yin to my Yang. I was math, science, engineering, black and white, digital 0's and 1's, Zen, and monk-like asceticism. She was art, music, culture, color, analog, Victorian clutter, and Joie de vivre. I was completely left brain, she was completely right brain. Together we were a whole brain. On September 2, 1980 we agreed to support each other throughout our education - I would do her math and she would do my art. Together, we could do everything.
Back then, Stanford cost almost $15,000 per year and we needed funding after our scholarships ran out. I went to the Stanford Law library, studied the US tax code and wrote a tax computation program (call it early TurboTax) that businesses could use to write payroll checks on CP/M and early DOS computers. Kathy wrote the manual, designed the advertising, and did all the corporate graphics. We sold thousands of copies from my dorm room.
I was asked to create something special for Steve Wozniak's 33rd birthday and I designed electronic greeting cards with synchronized audio and video that ran on 1980's computers. I patented the idea and included the odd concept that someday there will be a big network connecting everyone that would enable sending of electronic greeting cards between computers. (Next time you send an e-card, you can thank me for the royalty free license!). Kathy created all the graphics and digital artwork.
We've traveled the world, survived medical education, and raised a 17 year old together. She's introduced me to the cultures of the Far East, the music of Simon and Garfunkel, and the art of Maxfield Parrish.
She's been faculty at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, faculty at Bentley College, and a studio artist in South Boston.
She recently started her own blog - Art that is Life and opened the NK Gallery in Boston's South End.
She's my best friend.
It's great to marry the first person you date - I've been able to invest all my energy in a single life relationship. I think it will last.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM