Communications. I could barely spell the word, much less comprehend its meaning. Yet when
Mrs. Rubin made the announcement about the new club she was starting at the junior high school, it triggered something in
Two weeks later, during the last month of my eighth grade year, I figured it out. I was rummaging through the basement, and
I ran across the little blue box that my dad had brought home from work a year earlier. Could this be a modem?
I asked Mrs. Rubin about it the next day at school, and when she verified my expectations, I became the first member of
Teleport 2000, the only organization in the city dedicated to introducing students to the information highway.
This was when 2400-baud was considered state-of-the-art, and telecommunications was still distant from everyday life. But
as I incessantly logged onto Cleveland Freenet that summer, sending e-mail and posting usenet news messages until my
fingers bled, I began to notice the little things.
Electronic mail addresses started popping up on business cards. Those
otherwise-incomprehensible computer magazines that my dad brought home from work ran monthly stories on
communications-program this, and Internet-system that. Cleveland Freenet's Freeport software began appearing on systems
all over the world, in places as far away as Finland and Germany - with free telnet access!
I didn't live life as a normal twelve-year-old kid that summer. I sat in front of the monitor twenty-four hours a day, eating my meals from a plate set next to the
keyboard, stopping only to sleep. When I went back to school in the fall, I was elected the first president of Teleport 2000, partially because I was the only student
in-the school with a freenet account, but mostly because my enthusiasm for this new, exciting world was contagious.