Recently I discovered an email from Dawn, of Running With Scissors. It brought back lots of memories, so I went back to her site to check out her archives. And man, did THAT bring back memories! (I'm not going to post the archive link, since she seems to want the site to remain, well, unavailable.)
Back in the day - around 2000, this was, when I was still working at News24, sometime after getting married - I found the online journal of a girl named Pamela Ribon. And Pamie had this kick-ass forum called Squishy. Many a pleasant hour was spent whiling away work time in favour of chatting to these new, amazing, FUNNY online pals. Pamie was our online goddess, our connection, The One Who Made It Happen.
Through her, I found sheer awesomeness, like Anna-Beth Chao (really, "sheer awesomeness" is all that's needed to describe her. I want to be AB when I grow up. Or at least steal some of her design skillz). I didn't get to save any of her previous writing, but Hashai is still fabulous, although now it's focused on decorating her gorgeous house, and not on the weirdness of her life. (Favourite AB-Pamie moment: the fish.)
There was Allison, whose journal, Hate Your Daddy, is sadly no longer available (and yes, Pamie and Allison had "journals". Not "blogs". Am I showing my age?). Allison, I recall, was the object of my envy - although that's really too negative a word - in one thread. As I recall, the topic was "Who makes you jealous?" or something similar. To me, Allison was the epitome of what I wanted to be: Super-smart, super-talented, super-tall (six feet in her socks!), sexy, curvy, the most amazing eyes and that voice! Ohmigod, that voice. (Yes, Pamie provided downloads of karaoke in the bathroom. And then of course, I bought several copies of The Damn Millionaires' first CD and revelled in Allison's amazing voice.)
Miss Doxie, who, thank all that is good and right in this world, has finally started blogging again. Leigh! Please don't ever leave us again, with no more stories of Sexy Bo and his Virgins ("Bo HATE!"). Dear lord, Miss Doxie brings the funny, over and over and over again. I mean, Cookie and the geetz! HOW DOES ONE TOP THAT?
So many people, whose blogs have either ended, or moved to new addresses, or who have changed their outlook completely, or become fancy-pants authors (as has Pamie, actually).
RowEn, Erin, Hannah-Beth, Jessamyn, SummerRose, T, MoPie, so many people whose names are lost to me or whose journals and blogs I saved, but were lost when my hard-drive crashed - with all the Squishy threads - three years ago. And I mean, literally crashed - to the ground.
People who were smart, offbeat, who loved words and language, who didn't look down on each other, who became an online family. We didn't tolerate trolls, although we had a fun time needling them. We entered into debates - heated at times, but without getting into personal attacks. And those who couldn't play nicely were shunned, or banned. Simple. "More innocent times", I guess you'd say. Not like forums today, where I have no desire to do more than lurk because the vibe just isn't the same.
I doubt I'll ever get them back. But there are those whose lives I still follow, on whose blogs I still comment, under my old screen name, ysabelkid. And some of them remember me from those heady days almost a decade ago, when we posted each other actual mail, sent cards, participated in Christmas gift swops, planned to meet, cried on each other's shoulders, became email friends. I'm out of touch with most of them and, as I say, really only comment these days. But back then, Moosquared - who was known as Serenity13 - and I connected with a bunch of people from far-flung places across the planet. Many of them are still friends with each other now - Pamie, AB, Allison, the Meat of Cheese, Hannah-Beth, Miss Doxie - the MATH-letes. They're able to visit, take crazy photos, hang out.
I'd love to do that. But I'm also happy to remember those crazy days with a huge grin.