Computer Love: Their 1960s-Era Dating Strategy? Modern Technology! | KUOW News and Information

Computer Love: Their 1960s-Era Dating Strategy? Modern Technology!

Aug 12, 2016
Originally published on August 12, 2016 7:47 am

Back in the early '60s, computer dating was a pretty new idea. Only a handful of services existed and they used massive computers — the size of an entire room — to calculate compatibility.

But John Matlock and his future wife, Carol, both decided to take a chance on the new technology.

They filled out questionnaires about themselves and put them in the mail.

Their answers were fed into the computer on a punch card.

Then, they waited for a match.

"You could have paid for just a year or two years. But I paid for life," Carol said during a recent visit with John to StoryCorps.

John doesn't remember how he joined, but he does remember that he was lonely.

The two think that the fact that they both worked in electronics is what triggered their match.

"I got a packet from them which included pictures of three different ladies, and yours was one of them," he says. "I looked it over. I did call one of the girls. Was not successful in getting a date with her. I don't know what her case was. But then I ... talked to you."

After a few dates, Carol decided to cut off the supply of prospects — for both of them.

"I called the dating service, and said, 'You know, I don't think you need to send any more calls, and he doesn't want any either.' I said, 'I think that we're for each other.' But you didn't know I did this," she explained.

"I wondered why the well ran dry, " John said.

At the time the Matlocks met, Carol was a single mother.

"Like most single mothers, you go to work, you come home, you take care of your child. I had a son. And so one of the reasons I fell in love with you is because you loved my son. And would be willing to accept him as your son," she said.

John adopted their son, they had two more kids and now have several grandkids.

"Who would've thought enrollment in a computer dating service would've worked out to that?" he asked.

In December, the couple will celebrate their 52nd anniversary.

"We've had a wonderful life together," Carol said.

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Von Diaz.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday when we hear from StoryCorps. And today we have a couple who have been together for more than 50 years. The way they met so long ago is surprisingly modern.

JOHN MATLOCK: We met through a computer dating service back in 1964.

INSKEEP: That's John Matlock. In the early '60s, computer dating was a very new idea. Only a handful of services existed, and they used massive computers the size of an entire room to calculate compatibility.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

John and his future wife, Carol, both took a chance on the new technology. They filled out questionnaires about themselves and put them in the mail. Their answers were fed into the computer on a punch card, then they waited for a match.

CAROL MATLOCK: You could have paid for just a year or two years, but I paid for life.

MATLOCK: I don't remember how in the heck I joined, but I was kind of lonely.

MATLOCK: You were in electronics, which is what I was working in, and that's why we were matched together.

MATLOCK: Yeah. I got a packet which included pictures of three different ladies, and yours was one of them. I did call one of the girls - was not successful in getting a date with her. I don't know what her case was. But then I called and talked to you.

MATLOCK: After we'd had several dates, I called the dating service. And I said, you know, I don't think you need to send John any more calls and I don't want any more either. I said, I think that we're for each other. But you didn't know I did this. So I...

MATLOCK: I wondered why the well ran dry.

MATLOCK: That's all that I cared about. It worked. You know, I was a single mother. And like most single mothers, you go to work. You come home. You take care of your child. And so one of the reasons I fell in love with you is because you loved my son and would be willing to accept him as your son.

MATLOCK: I asked to adopt him, and he carries my name.

MATLOCK: To me, that was the most important thing. And we've been together 52 years, December this year.

MATLOCK: And who would have thought enrollment in a computer dating service...

MATLOCK: (Laughter) Would lead to this.

MATLOCK: ...Would've worked out to that?

MATLOCK: We've had a wonderful life together.

MATLOCK: Yeah, we have.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COMPUTER LOVE")

ZAPP: (Singing) Computer love.

MONTAGNE: That's John and Carol Matlock in Portland, Ore. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress. Conversations like this one are also part of StoryCorps' new animated series, Who We Are. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.