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Back in the day we had do all the memory management by hand. Programs (FORTRAN) had a basic main "kernel" that controlled the overall flow and we grouped subprograms (subroutines and functions) into "overlays" that were swapped in as needed. I spent hours grouping subprograms into roughly equal sized chunks just to fit into core, all the while trying to minimize the number of swaps necessary. All the data was stored in huge COMMON blocks so it was available to the subprograms in every overlay. You'd be fired if you produced such code today.
Virtual memory is more valuable than full screen editors and garbage collection is just icing on a very tall layer cake...
> "Adventures of Danny Dunn"
I'll second this. They're great reading. I read every one I could get my hands on as a preteen. Before that I was a lousy reader and not really interested in getting any better. Those books were the key that unlocked the world of reading for me.