MLMUG Member of the Month
An Occasional Look at the Person Behind the Member

By Maria O. Arguello,
MLMUG Member-at-Large
& Occasional Ace Reporter

Bill Morlitz

Inquiring minds wanted to know more about what makes our program director such a colorful, energetic, and creative Mac aficionado. You won't be bored reading all about him in his own words.

— Maria O. Arguello


Bill Morlitz

Bill Morlitz

From Bill Morlitz, our February Member of the Month

I was born in Camden NJ since my mom's cousin was head of Obstetrics at West Jersey Hospital on February 1, 1950 and have lived my whole life in Philadelphia and/or its suburbs. My dad had the first jazz record shop in Philadelphia so at an early age, I was immersed in the music business. Maybe that's why I can't sing a note on key nor have the 10 years of piano lessons stayed with me. Chopsticks is beyond me. <G>

During my teens, I was fortunate to personally meet many great jazz artists including Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Buckner (who developed the locked wrist rhythm style of piano playing and was Lionel's pianist), Lionel Hampton and many others. Grover Washington, JR. worked in the store on the weekends and we used to go listen to jazz sets together. My photography is included on his "Live at the Bijou" album. I also worked with Herbie Spivak, who owned the original Electric Factory at 22nd and Race. I used to drive the '61 Caddy psychadelic limo which was used to pick up the artists at airport and/or train station. I've chauffered Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Chambers Brothers and some group called Creedence Clearwater Revival among others. You had to see me handing out flyers advertising who was coming to the Factory in Rittenhouse Square during the weekend nights. Me in my Haverford sports jacket with a semi-short haircut with all my long haired friends around me. I've remained close with the people from the music business for my entire life and it's still a kick to go into a record shop and say "Give me Atlantic 2649" which is CSN's "Deja Vu". The clerks don't have a clue. Mom and Pop businesses are going by the wayside and it's a sin. I have about 1200 LP's and the same in 45's. CD's are for computers. I like the snap, crackle and pop of vinyl.

I also worked part-time for my dad's cousin who was an electrical systems engineer. We were building crude printed circuit boards/central processing units back in the 60's. One of Erv's favorite expressions was "Hand me one of those gizmos" which referred to the boards. I attended Haverford High graduating in 1968. I then spent two years at Community College of Delaware County at the original campus in Concordville where I developed a taste for being involved in Student Gov't serving as Chairman of the Student's Rights Committee. Since the record store was sold in 1970, I worked part-time at a Shell station as a 'Petroleum Transfer Techician' and light mechanic to work my way through college. Remember those were the days when you could work part-time and pay a full semester's tuition in 5 weeks. Joe, who owned the Shell station, bought a a Penn Jersey store in Conshocken in 1974 and we installed a rudimentary POS Computer system from Sperry-Rand (?) in 1975. You want to talk about trouble shooting a modern OS. It's nothing compared to those days.

I transferred to Temple in 1970 first as a business and then as an Education major. I continued with Student Gov't serving as co-chair of the College of Education, co-Student Ombudsman for the College of Education and co-chairman of the Food Service Committee (don't know why I was chosen for this one). Having switched majors, I graduated in January 1973 and was quickly thrust into the first of many Philadelphia School District strikes which delayed my placement. I entered service in April of 1973 and have taught at Beeber Junior/Middle School in Wynnefield as a Social Studies teacher since September of 1973 which means this is my 30th year there. I won't be there another 30. <BG>

In 1979, I started the first computer lab at Beeber with one Apple IIe which quickly grew to 6 with my students selling thousands of dollars of candies and flowers. Remember that a complete IIe system cost about $4500 with 64K RAM, two 5 1/4 drives, a 9" green monitor and an 80 column card! In 1983, Beeber became the first junior high in the city to get a complete computer lab as the District wanted a model lab. Today we have 140 computers, all but 20 Macs. Oh yeah, we still have 10 IIe/c's. Through the years, I have served as a Coordinator, Disciplinarian, House Director, Dean of Students, Technology Lead for Beeber, Technology team member for the Overbrook Cluster and Small Learning Community Coordinator. I have been involved in the PRIME program which concentrated on math and science to encourage students to become engineers and have many students who became engineers throughout the years. I was selected as PRIME Teacher of the Year in 1989 and as the Dr. Ruth Hayre Community Service Awardee for the School District in 1995.

I married my wife Freddy, a secondary English teacher, in 1981 and we had a son, Michael, one year later. Michael was immersed in computers in an early age and has worked for both Jason Lisi and Jason O'Grady (MLMUG members) and Harcum College's Summer Music Program among others since 1995. He is currently a junior majoring in the Graphic Design at Drexel. Needless to say, we don't do Windoze in our home. I do hire a window washer at times.

At times over the past 20 years, my interest in computers has taken a back seat to other hobbies such as photography and trains but Macs have always been a constant. I've been an Apple Resource Person for the School District, an Apple Advocate, an Apple Demo person (remember the iMac rollout at Micro Center in August of 1998 with the Gummi Sharks in iMAc colors!) and then the Mac Resource Person at Micro Center from January 1999 to January 2001 besides my involvement with MLMUG. I've also been heavily immersed in the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad whose Main Line was (and still is under Amtrak/SEPTA/CSX ownership) just 1 block away from Beeber. I became involved with both the National and Philadelphia Chapters of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society about 10 years ago and served as the 'Superintendent' of their website for 3 years ending in August of 2001. My current major interest is my O Gauge train (Lionel to you baby boomers) layout in the basement where I can usually be found if I'm not in front of the Beige. IMHO, it's the most rock solid computer Apple has ever made. I've had one problem with it (the Matsuishita CD player developed a problem) in 4 1/2 years. What was the old Power Computing saying? "I'll give up my Mac when you pry it out of my cold, lifeless hands." I'll let everyone know when I find it important to switch to 10xx.

As Dale Fletcher is fond of saying, I wear many hats. I don't mind; they keep my scalp warm.

— Bill Morlitz


Bill Trekie
Once a Trekie, always a Trekie?

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© 2003 by Maria O. Arguello, Bill Morlitz, & MLMUG
Posted 01/29/03