There I was around Thanksgiving – I had just withdrawn and flushed the first semester of my senior year down the toilet. I was always pretty broke; I had been in college, after all, so I needed some kind of job.
I had worked the previous summer doing data entry for an airplane broker, entering information on giant cards full of data about Lear Jets, Windsongs, and Cessna Citations into a database. I knew that they had not finished that project yet, so I called my old boss there to see if I could do a few weeks of work. No dice.
Two friends of mine had been tapped on the shoulder that summer to work for a startup in Houston doing Apple II software. StyleWare was formed somewhere around 1984 or 1985 by two current Rice students and a fellow they had worked with one summer. They wrote Multiscribe (a word processor that looked very much like MacWrite for the original Mac) for the Apple II, and sold it with 1-800 phones lines in their dorm rooms. It was a success.
Apple shipped the Apple II GS in the fall of 1986, and they asked StyleWare to port and upgrade Multiscribe for the Apple IIGS. Apple also wanted StyleWare to do some kind of graphics program, and StyleWare hired my two friends to work on it, which is how I found out about it.
When I ended up on the street, I called StyleWare to do any job they had available. Turns out they had just fired their customer support representative. So, for the last six weeks of December, I answered phones and took orders at StyleWare. It would not be the last time I worked for them.
Oh, and I applied for re-admission as soon as I found out that my withdrawal from Rice was final. The beginning of the second week of December, I got a letter for Rice stating that my application for re-admission had been granted.
Whew. Maybe my life was going to be worth something after all.