Saturday, March 26, 2011
For several days last week I had no telephone or internet connection. That was frustrating and I felt extremely relieved when both were finally fixed. That experience made me appreciate our modern communication systems and think of what life must have been like for our ancestors.
Generations ago if someone travelled from Europe or Asia to America or across the continent if their families ever heard from them at all it would have taken months for handwritten letters to arrive and more months for the replies to be returned.
Since many people couldn't read and write they would have had to get someone else to do that for them and might have had to pay for the service. The postage alone would have cost a lot if available, and often the letters would have been carried by someone who happened to be traveling in the right direction and might not ever arrive.
Pony Express and the transcontinental railroad made contact much easier, but it was still often a matter of weeks or months. The telegraph was fast, but only went from station to station and was also expensive.
Even in the 1940s it normally took two weeks for letters to be carried across the United Stated, though a stamp only cost three cents. Air mail was faster, but cost twice as much. Telephones had been invented, but not everyone had them and long distance rates were expensive.
Although computer and internet problems can drive us crazy, we're lucky to be able to communicate quickly with people in most parts of the world and I'm thankful my internet service is working again.