Column: Days before the Internet

Carol Forster
Carol Forster

Many years ago, almost before the days of electricity, there was a strange phenomenon: that of no Internet.

Can you imagine, younger readers how that would be?

You wouldn’t have been able to Google things or email messages, nor would you have had the joys of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

No photos could be shared save physically giving them to someone, and there was no sharing of your lunch that day on social media.

Indeed, they were great times in many ways. I’m talking of the 60s and 70s and the decades which followed on, of course.

So, back in those old times, we used to do strange things like make phone calls. I have already alluded to my dislike of the blessed things in a previous column, but do you remember when we used them all the time, and nearly missed the final number as we poked a finger in the circular dial, or the satisfying plop of the phone back on its rest, then all that waiting for calls from friends or partners, not to mention the phone box experience?

How else did we communicate before social media?

Well, we used to talk to each other over a meal instead of scrolling the pictures on our phones and, when we were at a distance, we might even write each other a letter. Some of these were obligatory ones to distant relatives, thanking Aunt Hilda for that 'lovely' pair of socks, while others might be to a beloved. It was a precious thing, to receive a letter which wasn’t a bill or something mundane like that.

I have a further memory for you which many will recall with a smile of recognition – the days of the letter or note to take home from school, with pale purple ink. It had a strong perfume I can still recall and we would use it for origami, rather than listen to the feography teacher, but you could barely read it. This was good because we often got our homework on one of these and shoved it into our exercise books to happily forget for a while along with the end of term school report.

What a mixed bag that was!

My own often mentioned the fact that I liked to daydream and look out of the window, if I wasn’t clock watching or giggling, of course. Happy times!