Tag Archives: Obituary

Steve Jobs and my fork in the road

Robert Scoble’s got a touching video on Google Plus today. He’s outside Apple’s Cupertino HQ and talking about his first encounter with an Apple computer. He talks about unboxing an Apple IIGS, the last in the line of pre-Mac Apples and a hugely influential machine in its time. He says:

That was the time I knew my life was going to be different from my dad’s

And I cried as he said it because I recognise that experience. I unboxed my first Mac in my student flat in Camberwell in 1985. And that was my giant fork in the road. I’m wondering how many other lives forked radically with the arrival of one of Mr Jobs’ products and whether you could calculate the cumulative value of all those huge, personal changes of direction? What kind of number would that be? An incalculably large one, I should think.

Sheila Duke, neé Bowbrick, 1930–2006

Sheila Duke, nee Bowbrick, in 1957, aged 27
My Aunt Sheila (in the front of this picture), a funny, generous, rude and slightly loopy Cockney who always cheered me up and was a proper anchor for the Bowbricks in good times and bad, has died. She was born in 1930, one of seven. She was my Dad’s older sister by about a year (and often his proxy guardian during the war and evacuation and hop picking and all that South London malarky).

She led a difficult and sometimes chaotic life like many working class women of her generation, married twice and had two kids: Cath and Val. She loved a good row, with a shopkeeper, usually – a class of person she didn’t have much time for. She also liked a good party (most recently celebrating her Aunt Kit’s 100th birthday). She leaves behind a lovely (and equally loopy, if you ask me) crowd of children and grandchildren – and one lovely great granddaughter. I know they’re all missing her hugely and I will too.