I remember laying in bed listening to the good old dial up going. “EEEEEEEEEE RR EREREREEEEEEEEEE” and envisioning that little red horse galloping across the screen. To me, the internet didn’t do much else. I always thought mom and dad spent their evenings trying to “Connect” to this annoying noise. Fancy game anyone? Never realizing there was a whole other world out there. Beyond the big clunky box that made funny noises. Infact, I don’t think they realized this either.

Life then, almost seemed easier.

Maybe it was because I was a kid, but before the “Internet” landed in all its high-speed, wireless glory – back before these “kids” grew up and eventually got tired of waiting for the horse to connect to nothing (or maybe they just got tired of watching their parents go even crazier) and invented such a thing – life was easier.

We locked our computers in rooms, called “Computer rooms.” Back then, these computers NEEDED rooms. Back before the ultra slim and thin notebook arrived on the scene, computers came as giant boxes that stored about as much information as your pinky finger. Combined with the fact that they really didn’t do all that much and well, they were confined to their rooms. Never being aloud to travel the world. I wonder what people would have thought back then if someone told them that “One day, that computer will travel the world.” Yea. Whatever.

My computer time was at first a short window of time when I sat all curled up in the office chair with room to spare. Putting in a music cd and playing a game of solitaire. The most complicated it got was deciding on the background for the cards. I liked to alternated between the two “Fish” backgrounds and never could figure out which was better. When it was just me and the computer we would play a whole game before getting bored and leaving the computer, alone in his room.

As I got older we were introduced to things known as “Computer games” this was where you and your friends would all pile onto the computer chair and shout “GO LEFT!” “GO RIGHT!” or something along those lines. This was much more fun than “Board games.” The only game I really remember playing with friends was “Oregon Trail.” Setting off you load your wagon up with assorted items, name your party – after you and your friends, of course, and off you set. Over the Old Oregon Trail. Along the way a few friends would die. Snake Bites. Malaria. It didn’t matter if you had chosen “Doctor” as your profession. Some snake bites couldn’t be cured no matter how much “Down time” you gave you and your ten oxen. Eventually, after crossing rivers, fixing broken axles, and loosing a few dear family members you would make it your destination and the “Winner” would be in charge of the (not so wireless) mouse.

“Who done it” and “Kye” were two games my sister played. Games that were, sadly “Too old” for me. Who done it – a game that came in the mail for her birthday, on an over-sized floppy disk that didn’t ever work on the first try. A one dimensional very pixilated “man” would move across the room gathering “clues” to find his “Missing sister” who would disappear through the bookshelf every time.  I could never get past trying to understand how and why she fell for the same trick.  Every time.  Darn that bookshelf.  Kye was just as frustrating to me. A green dot moving through a maze of yellow squares and round balls.

As time moved on we were given “Computer time” which was when we set a timer for 20 minutes each day and were given that amount of time to play a hearty game of “Solitaire” or “Hearts.”

But the most profound moment came when I was probably 10 or 11. When a customer waltzed into the shop and declared the starting of a new “Internet browser.” “Google” he said. We laughed. What was he talking about. He went on to explain in great detail, what this thing that sounded more like baby talk than anything, was.

I don’t really remember what he had to say on the subject, just that he took over the computer, typed in this funny name and brought up a brightly colored page that he said, would find anything you wanted. Like magic.

And the world was never the same again.

2 thoughts on “Once upon a time…

  1. A manda says:

    HAHAHAHA! Loved this post, I was laughing the whole way through. Oregon trail was sad, losing dear friends along the way, didnt we get mad at the ”leader” when our character would die? I vaguely remember some form of bitterness there…I hated the fish, the cartoon beach and goofy sun was the only background for me! Remember he’d smile and don sunglasses if you won the game? Hearts was confusing, I only liked it because I imagined who those mysterious people were I was playing against, and then when I figured out they werent real and that you could change the names, well it wasn’t much fun getting your backside kicked to the likes of ”teeny” and all our other friends. Whodunnit I only played about 3 times, it must have been some version of an ”internet game” since it took so long to load every time. Thanks for reminding me of those days, and also for reminding me that I gotta get kye installed on this computer soon! Fateful day that was when ”Google” in all of its primary color glory swept through the doors of our lives and onto the ol’ windows 97 screen. Remember it well!!

    1. CJ says:

      HA! Yes we would get mad at our “leader” for killing us! Who else? Much bitterness!! That sun glass guy only made me mad – he never smiled at me (probably because I never won!). Good times!!

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