Did you ever use a BBS (bulletin board system)? When I was in high school, I got hooked on BBSes. I started BBSing prior to the move to Tennessee after my freshman college year. In Tennessee when I met Mary Lou — she and her husband ran a BBS called Shadow Keep. It was a WWIV board. I used to talk to people all over the U.S. on that system. ‘Emails’ were sent to other users by using their username (or ID number) and the BBS number, assuming the BBS was on the same network. Every night, the BBS would dial another server and would download and upload messages, content, etc. It took 3-4 days for an ’email’ and who knows how many hops to arrive at my friend’s inbox in California. and about as long for responses to get back to me.
A friend of mine found a documentary on BBSes: http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/ It’s strange to see a documentary on something with which I was involved.