Childhood Memories

Remembering Life Before the Internet: A Nostalgic Journey

May 27, 2024

Do you remember life before the internet?

In today's hyper-connected world, it's hard to imagine life without the internet. Yet, just a few decades ago, people navigated daily life without the digital tools and conveniences we now take for granted. Life before the internet was marked by a slower pace, different social interactions, and unique ways of accessing information and entertainment. Today’s WordPress prompt has taken me back to simpler times and I am happy to take this trip down memory lane.


Before the internet, communication was more deliberate and often required more effort. People relied heavily on landline telephones, handwritten letters, and face-to-face conversations. The joy of receiving a letter in the mail was unmatched, with handwritten notes carrying a personal touch that emails and texts often lack. Long-distance phone calls were expensive, so they were reserved for special occasions or urgent matters.

I remember making trips with my mom to and from the post office to mail a letter or two, I enjoyed putting the stamps on the envelopes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the lines ‘Greetings to you in the mighty name of Jesus’. This was the staple greeting for most letters. Reading letters for my mother was one way I sharpened my reading skills. Before we had a landline at home, my parents would have to use the Cable and Wireless payphones located in different sections across the island. I have never used one personally, but I vaguely remember waiting while my mother would use them.

Information and Learning

Accessing information before the internet was a vastly different experience. The process of researching a topic involved visiting multiple libraries, reading various sources, and taking meticulous notes. Doing research for school projects required spending hours browsing through books, periodicals, and encyclopedias. Libraries were treasure troves of knowledge and I was no stranger to the Parish Library. Having joined the library at an early age, I was well acquainted with the ins and outs of research. To avoid spending hours at the library, I would often photocopy pages I thought would be useful and take them home. Photocopying pages from books also helped if you wanted pictures for projects. You could easily cut out the images and paste them into your projects. Newspapers, magazines, and television broadcasts were crucial for staying informed about world events. As a child, I had no interest in the news or world events, but magazines had glossy pictures which often made school projects pop. I also developed a scrapbooking hobby using images from magazines. I haven’t done that in years though.

Entertainment and Leisure

Entertainment options before the internet were more tangible and often required physical presence. Television and radio were the primary sources of entertainment at home. My siblings and I would gather around the TV to watch cartoons after school and early on Saturday mornings. Radio programs were popular for music, news, and storytelling. There would be children’s programmes on the radio that often allowed kids to call in and participate. I was partially raised on two Radio Stations; Love 101 FM and RJR 94 FM now Radio Jamaica. I remember calling into the ‘Small People Show’ aired in the afternoon on weekdays on Love 101 FM.

Aside from radio and TV, we found a myriad of ways to entertain ourselves growing up. We would play games outside such as ‘mama lashi’, ‘stuckie’, ‘dandy shandy’ which we called sightings and many more. We would hunt lizards and other insects and bury them in toothbrush cases. There were never enough hours in the day for playing outside. As kids, we would get scolded for playing too much. After dark board games and card games would keep us entertained. When that didn’t work we made up songs or raps, had drawing competitions, sang in front of the fan and made up stories to share. There was always an activity to keep us entertained.

Work and Shopping

Since I wasn’t old enough to work so I have no experience of working without the internet. I suspect that the workplace relied heavily on paper-based processes and manual labour. Typewriters, fax machines, and physical filing systems were staples in offices. Some workplaces have sadly not evolved from the physical filing systems.

Shopping before the internet was predominantly an in-person activity. People visited stores to purchase goods, relying on physical catalogues and salespeople for information about products.


Life before the internet was markedly distinct from today's digital era. It featured more personal and direct interactions, slower and more intentional processes, and a stronger focus on physical presence and community involvement. Although the internet has introduced numerous conveniences and efficiencies, it has also reshaped how we communicate, learn, and entertain ourselves. Looking back at life before the internet evokes a nostalgic appreciation for a simpler time, highlighting the importance of personal connections and the charm of unplugged moments. I feel privileged to belong to a generation that experienced the advantages of both worlds.

What do you remember from life before the internet? Tell me in the comments below.

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