Written by Neal Layton
Edited by Bill Martens
I was probably about 20-21 years old and I had just bought an apple // “for fun”. I was looking for other users and through the local apple dealer I met Larry and few other guys and we got together and started Willamette Apple Connection or “WAC”.
We were a small group located in Salem, Oregon at the peak of the Apple // days (1987), with a maximum of about 34 members. At that time, the group was run by a very energetic President named Larry Tucker. He was in to everything and anything Apple. He was particularly Gung Ho on the Apple //.
When we started, we had a President, Vice Pres, Secretary, Treasurer and Librarian like most clubs. I started out the treasurer, I was too afraid to be anything else. I kept the books & member ship records. After a few years we decided to combine the Secretary job with the Treasurer because we couldn’t get enough volunteers to help out. So we had 4 “Club Officers”
I was VP for a few years and when Larry moved on I was president for about 2 years until it just got to be too much and the Apple // went away. By that time, everyone was moving on to using PC’s and MACs.
Of course, we had moved up in the world and I had volunteered to run the BBS! I spent most of my time during those years helping people get online and doing demo’s of the WAC BBS! I loved that online stuff but, then, without warning, the internet came to town! Most people changed their connectivity to the Internet and the BBS slowly died. But, I still have the software and hardware and probably could run it still today if needed. J
I would guess we lasted for about 9 years or so. We had monthly meetings that were run by the members or guest speakers from apple, etc.
There was always lots of software and hardware demo’s and some of the major vendors would come and see us once in awhile. If there was a guest speaker or something really special, then we would combine with the Portland user group about 50 miles up the road and have a joint meeting. Through this joint co-operation, we could get better guests and bigger door prizes.
Our President worked on all the usual president stuff, We tried to become a non-profit organization (501c3) so people could donate stuff to us and have a tax write off.. We had free accounts on AOL for members, we even did some teaching at the schools and churches on how to use the Apple //. We had free software donated for the club to use, etc, etc.
We put out as newsletter to all our members and did an exchange with other clubs. We printed a few extra every month to leave at the Apple store to get new members.
We are one of the few Apple user groups that got official permission to reproduce the APPLE logo on our hats. I still have some hats and a copy of the Apple letter granting permission. We brought the software library to every meeting and let people copy the disks and then we would help them get started using their computers, the more the better.
Most of the money we raised went to producing the newsletter or to buying floppy disks for expanding the library or the purchase of other club related items, although I did receive some money once to offset the cost of the phone line for the BBS. I doubt we ever had more than $200 in the bank to run our club. It was all mostly for fun. The club ran through the generous support of volunteers and donations to the club. Users helping users.
There were teachers and postal employees who were members of WAC, all with the intent of learning the Apple // so they could do a better job at work. We really had quite a variety of people as members over the years. We also belonged to the Apple User group connection and they always supported us with a lot of goodies every month.
It was a lot of fun while I was young and it lasted but, alas, all good things must come to an end. Or does it...