Monday, January 11, 2016

like a full professor at Harvard!

One summer day back in the 1970s? '80s? someone at Cornell called our house (long-distance! in the middle of the day!) with an important message for my son.  Dov was at that point out somewhere on the marshes of Finland chasing shorebirds --ruffs -- and I was frantic not knowing how to get in touch with him.  As I remember, a deadline was involved.   
       Then friend Mary, who taught at the University of Rochester, said "I'll just email the University at Oulu -- they'll get the message to him."
        I had no idea what she meant.  She came back the next day saying it was all taken care of, and all I could think to say was "How much do I owe you?"  
        Nothing?  It seemed like magic.  I did have a vague impression that the military and the colleges had some sort of complicated scientific communication...

But what I set out to tell you was that I just found my own pioneer email.  For that I have a specific date.  I've been reading old journals, and on December 14, 1993:
     "Conrad Bakker at school walked me thru getting on e-mail.  For teaching real estate nights as adjunct lecturer at a two-bit college -- I have an e-mail address just like a full professor at Harvard!   Esty and I tried email to Dov."

      And on the next day the journal says triumphantly:  "E-Mail back from Dov!  Through the Frog Pond."
(I have no idea what the Frog Pond was -- it could even be a restaurant we went to on the evening of December 15, 1993. Does someone know if it had any relevance to that exciting first e-mail?)

Dov and Ruff on CBC last year.


  1. Frog Pond sounds like some early email client

  2. Google indicates that there has been a restaurant called the Frog Pond on Park Ave. in Rochester since the 1970s. So that could be it...if you and your sister were there that night.

    And, yes, email did seem like abracadabra in the early 1990s, didn't it? Now I couldn't get along without it, in either work or personal life.

  3. Unfortunately for us old farts, email is passe among the young. I can't get my kids to respond to emails anymore. If I want their attention, I have to text to their phones, or send a FB message.