This is one of those blog posts where I wish I had a visual aid. The only one I know of, though, is in deep storage with the rest of my comic books. Here’s the story:
I got a message from a woman on Facebook by the name of Heidi. Now, doing what I do and based on the number of people I meet, I actually get a fairly consistent number of Facebook friend requests and messages from random people. In fact: I keep a blog post handy for when it happens 99% of the time: http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/10045
(Upon posting that, I realized I should probably write an updated version of that blog post with revised social media stuff.)
The message from Heidi, however, qualified as a person in the 1% that gets past the proverbial gate.
FLASHBACK: In 1989, I was DEEP into Star Trek fandom. I was going to conventions, watching the movies, following the television series (classic and TNG), and even reading a novel or two. On October of that year, DC Comics relaunched their Star Trek comic book series and I immediately started collecting every issue from both classic and The Next Generation.
Now, back in the before time, folks were more liberal with their personal information since things like doxxing and identity theft weren’t really around. So when you wrote a letter to a publication, said publication would often print your address if they used your letter. I can’t remember the exact issue (as I mentioned earlier, it’s in storage,) but I did get a letter published in an issue of Star Trek singing the praises of Captain Kirk and his crew. After my short letter in the back pages of the comic book, my home address was printed.
The result? I got a couple of letters from other fans who saw my note. REMEMBER: this was pre-email era. In thinking back, I recall keeping in touch with two of the folks that sent letters. One was from Europe and the other was from the central part of the United States.
They were “pen pals” – when such a thing existed.
So, though the early nineties I would write back and forth and talk about things that were going on in our respective lives. For you younger readers, think of it as blogging for one person using only a pen and paper. This went on for a few years but, as time passed, we fell out of touch.
That was almost a quarter century ago.
Then I got this message:
It took some memory stretching and a reminder of our shared love for Star Trek, but we did (in fact) know each other via our youth. I don’t have any letters saved from my high school years, but I remember writing and receiving them. As many an old man will tell you: letter writing is a lost art… one that even Ryan Phillippe couldn’t bring back.
We have the Internet, though, and (like all folks my age) it’s fun finding new ways to reconnect with the past.