I believe I got my first computer in 1998, after much urging from my then-daughter-in-law. I was apprehensive, having read horror stories about the horrible people on the Internet. "I'll never go into a chat room," I assured my family.
But I did. Most of the chats I checked were overcrowded and unfriendly, and downright obscene in their language. But finally, some way or other, I stumbled onto a Christian Senior chat room. To get there, I recall you had to go to a website first, and enter the room from there. I believe that's what kept the room a manageable size, because it wasn't as easy to access as most AOL rooms.
Before long, I felt like I knew some of the folks there: Galen, WESTBILT, LonaMay, Sprkl... the list goes on. And when they started talking about having a Dallas chat room reunion, I wanted badly to go. LonaMay, who lives south of me, in Arkansas, offered to let me ride with her, but my husband wasn't about to send me off with some stranger, to meet a passle of other strangers! So, he took me to Dallas. He found the crowd to be a harmless group, and after that, he allowed me to go on my own to several of these functions. Here's a picture from the second Dallas reunion I attended:
Thanks to the fact that I got a job, I've been to Kentucky and North Carolina, for reunions. I've been back to the Dallas reunion at least three times, and to an Arkansas gathering. I never flew until I started going to reunions, but I sure have earned my wings now. Many of the people I met in that old chat room have died, and some have just disappeared. But I still chat with a lot of folks from that old group. Here's a picture from Charlotte:
Wow, I was skinnier then (I'm in the middle, front row).
Well, the old chat room is long gone, and some of the old group still chats in a couple of AOL rooms, and in private rooms at times. We still have reunions once in awhile though; now my friend, BooDotte, and I have decided it's time to try hosting a Kansas City reunion, perhaps for next July. We're in the first stage of planning, trying to decide which to Kansas City landmarks we should introduce our friends: The Truman Library, we've agreed, is a must-see. And perhaps the Hallmark Visitor's Center on the Plaza. In three days, there's only so much you can do and see, and still leave time to visit with one another. Do we dare take them to Arthur Bryant's barbecue? That's the place that made Kansas City barbecue famous, but it's in a pretty sleazy part of town. I can hear my husband now, saying, "You're taking those people WHERE????"
But it's exciting to think about, and it seems a lot of folks are interested in coming to the great midwest for such a shindig. Here's hoping it all comes together; the good Lord willing, it will.