After a bit more noodling (see my earlier post titled Paleo-Geekology), I managed to load the other GEM applets onto my VMWare Workstation. Below is another picture of the GEM Desktop, with (clockwise) a clock/calendar (surprise -- no Y2K problem!), a colorful little calculator, and a snapshot applet for taking screen shots. The whole thing does look a bit like the first Mac screen. Apple made DRI take out the "Trash." ;-)
The next picture is a screen shot from the GEM Write program. According to literature on the back of the box, Write is based on the Volkswriter Deluxe word processor. GEM Write lets you write and edit, move and copy, search and replace, or erase and print without learning complex commands. You'd have to be familiar with an old workhorse like WordStar on DOS (or Vi on Linux) to know what they're talking about.
The following screen shot is from GEM Paint. Thankfully, they provided some stock files, such as this "proposed office floor plan." Your Paint project was limited to 16 colors -- and that's if you had the latest and greatest IBM Enhanced Color Graphics Adaptor at the time. I think you could achieve the same results now with the WebCT Vista chat/whiteboard applet on the web.
Below is the GEM Draw package displaying some computer clip art. If you wanted colors, you'd have to go back and finish this project with GEM Paint.
Oh, brave new world!
I put the GEM suite up for sale on eBay today. My starting price is $19.99, which I feel is modest, given that this software belongs in a museum. Sadly, there are no bids yet at this time.