Back in 1998 when we got our first computer, I had read and heard plenty about the dangers of chat rooms; I swore that nobody would catch me entering such a cyber-trap.
But of course, my curiosity got the best of me, and I cautiously clicked into an AOL chat. The words were scrolling up the screen so fast it was impossible to read them all, and half of what I saw there was foul language and links to porn sites. I clicked out quickly.
One day I found myself reading an article on an AOL Christian community website when I noticed there were some chat rooms associated with the site. I clicked into a couple of them and saw some actual conversations scrolling up the screen. One was for women, one for men... I forget the various chats that were there, but one was "Christians 50+".
There weren't a lot of people using that chat during most of the day. Early in the morning it was pretty much the same cozy group, and we'd wake up together with coffee and pleasant conversation. In the evening things got hectic in the chat room, and troublemakers sometimes showed up; but our morning chats were great.
Thinking back, I realize how many of my old friends from the room have died.
After the chat room disintegrated into chaos, I still kept in touch with several of my favorite people. I don't do live chats or IM's these days, but I do have Facebook conversations with some of them.
One of my old chat friends is Lori, who lives in Louisiana. She is responsible for this stroll down memory lane. Lori wasn't fifty-plus years old, but she hung out in the chat room with us seniors quite a bit. Back then she had one little boy named Danny who was four years old. She was, I believe, the same age as my daughter.
This morning Lori posted a picture of Danny on Facebook. He's seventeen, and all grown up. I asked her, "Who stole your little boy and replaced him with a man?"
I wouldn't take anything for my pleasant chat room memories.