I started "playing computers" in about 1977 with an old mini system at my school (I've forgotten what model it was). Changed schools and went on to using the college PDP-11/40 via an ASR33 teletype, and another old mainframe (Elliot 803) that was donated to the school. They eventually bought a Research Machines 380Z.
My town at the time had one computer shop. Not the glitz and glamour of today's store back then -- just a dingy little back street shop in the low-rent district with circuit boards piled high and open systems on every flat surface. I remember drooling at the then new Commodore PETs and TRS-80s, just imported and at an astronomical price.
First system I owned was one I built from a kit called the Acorn Atom. (I'm not sure if that was ever sold in the States.) About a year later I'd left school and was in work, so I treated myself to the newly launched BBC Micro, also made by Acorn. There's still a lot of support for that computer over here.
I acquired/used various CP/M systems after that -- North Star Horizon springs to mind. I still like the simplicity of the old CP/M software. Who needs a Pentium processor with a 1000Gb drive just to write a letter anyway?