The Model 100s displayed six lines of type and were clumsy. My brief case included a toolbox with wire cutters, electrical tape, a separate telephone and various gadgets in case the hotel lines didn’t quickly accommodate our connection.
Today, it’s standard in most rooms, but 25 years ago, most innkeepers didn’t understand a request for a “dataport” or a “modem” in the room. Forgiveness, not permission, was my policy as I rewired many a room.
I often think of where those students are today. Some still work in journalism, but we seldom cross paths. Others left for better opportunities. Four years later, I accompanied another group to both conventions.
On the all-night drive home from Atlanta, we stopped at the Shoney’s in Tupelo, Miss., birthplace of Elvis. As you can imagine, the place had every kind of Elvis souvenir made, from bobbleheads to velvet wall hangings and blue suede shoes. It was a shrine.
Tulsa student David Fallis, the son of former district attorney “Buddy” Fallis, asked the waitress if she knew where he could buy “some really tacky Elvis stuff.” We left shortly thereafter. Fallis now works on the Washington Post.
Students transmitted their final day’s stories from a truck stop pay phone using a set of “cups” that plugged into the computer. One idle trucker, intrigued by the setup, asked what the young co-ed was doing.
“It’s kind of like a kid sending his report card home to his mother,” she said.
His response was priceless and would make Gomer Pyle proud: “Gollee. What’ll they think of next?”