Syrian Refugees, Abortion, iPhones & the Simpsons

steve jobs

In 1954 a student in Wisconsin found herself pregnant by a Syrian refugee. Her father forbade her to marry the father. Today such cases often end in abortion, but abortion was illegal in 1954. A doctor who sheltered girls in such circumstances delivered her baby and arranged an adoption. That baby was Steve Jobs.

The student, Joanne Carole Schieble, later married her Syrian boyfriend. They subsequently divorced, but did have a daughter called Mona.  Joanne then married again, to an ice skating teacher called George Simpson.  So Steve Job’s sister became Mona Simpson.

Mona became a best-selling author and Professor of English at UCLA.  She married Richard Appel, a scriptwriter for The Simpsons TV Show.  When Richard needed to come up with a name for Homer Simpson’s mother, he named her after his wife – Mona Simpson.

The world is full of unexpected consequences and connections.  If the US had refused to accept Syrian refugees 60 years ago, or if abortion had been legal in 1974, then it is highly unlikely that today we would have the iPhone, iPad or Mac computers.  And Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was, in a manner of speaking, Homer Simpson’s uncle!

And I get to write a blog post that ties into one story Syrian refugees, abortion, iPhones and The Simpsons.

Mona Simpson



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