"Why didn't you just send email?... Did you even have light bulbs then?"

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Antique mailbox

Blogging has been light—in fact I'm at least a week behind in my blog reading between work and twins (and even more behind in reading my non-work email), but tonight I'd be remiss not to try and capture an exchange Jacob (age six) and I had over ice-cream this evening...

Jacob: You dated Mom before you married her, right?

Michael: I did.

Jacob: Did you date her when you were in High School?

Michael: I went on a couple of dates with her then. The first one was to see the Disney movie Little Mermaid.

Jacob: Which Little Mermaid, number one or number two?

Michael: Number one. It had just come out and was still playing in movie theaters.

Jacob: So was Mom your girlfriend in High School then?

Michael: She was a friend who was a girl. I had different friends who were girls but never just one "girlfriend" that I dated all the time.

Jacob: Oh.

Michael: The summer after I finished High School—before I started college—I went to live with my friend whose family had moved to Las Vegas and worked to earn money for college and a mission.

I was homesick at first and wrote lots of letters to all my friends and families. Your Mom was one of the best letter writers and by the end of the summer we were sending and receiving letters in the mail practically every day. I guess you could say we dated by mail.

Jacob: Why didn't you just send emails?

Michael: Well, back then most people didn't have email yet so we sent old fashioned letters.

Jacob: Oh. Did you even have light bulbs then?

Michael: Um, yes, we did.

Jacob: Who invented the light bulb again? I forget.

Michael: Thomas Edison.

I briefly thought about digressing into a discussion of the history of email systems (and how I first sent email messages over the Internet without being directly connected to the Internet in the late 1980s), and about bulletin board systems and proprietary online services and a host of related topics, but then I realized that to his generation a world without near-universal email would sound about as strange to him as a world without light bulbs would.

—Michael A. Cleverly


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I just found your blog while Googling for Deseret Book's Corporate Office (your entry on DB cutting Seagull off came up early in the results), and enjoyed this entry. I've also got a young family, and it's always fun to hear what other parents' kids with that underscores the vast technological generation gap. I've been tempted to find an old typewriter and keep it around just for history's sake. :o)

Anyway, thanks, and have a great day.

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