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