“Before the Internet”

Today’s prompt was, “Remember the days before you got the Internet at home?” Here’s my response and the pic I selected to illustrate it. ;o)

Old computers

Getting to access the world-wide anything was a game changer. I grew up in rural Mississippi in the ’60s and ’70s, with just four channels on TV (two of them “snowy” … and you can tell someone’s age by whether he/she knows what I mean). The TV was supplemented by a set of encyclopedias for researching school projects, a library card, and a mother who was generous at the bookstore and comic book store cash registers. Those were the days when it struck fear into your soul to remember at 5:05 p.m. (after the library had closed) that there was a school project due tomorrow. That’s why Mom bought the Encylopedia Brittanica, which kept “current” by issuing updates in an annual yearbook edition. Fancy!

That was just how things worked. Not everyone had even those limited resources. And I just didn’t know how much more of a world was out there. There was school, church, home, relatives’ houses, and not a lot else. A small but okay world.

The first personal computer in my house was a Tandy my first husband had, which loaded from a cassette tape and had just 16K in memory. My first was a hand-me-down gigantic word processor my father-in-law phased out of his office. It seemed like SUCH an improvement over my typewriter though.

The first real computer that was ALL MINE and new was a Macintosh Plus with the wee little 9-inch screen, and it took me online for the first time. I would spend hours on bulletin boards long after my first child was tucked in for the night. And that was all she wrote; I was hooked. My next was a custom-built PC. I’ve waffled back and forth between the PC and Apple worlds ever since.

Today, I’m totally devoted to the online culture — Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Google Reader, and so much more. They will have to pry my laptop from my liver-spotted arms some day. I just hope my nursing home has WiFi.


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