Love on a Mission {Part VII}

love on a mission

{From Part VI: One afternoon, just a few weeks after my arrival back in the United States, Grandma came walking into the house with a puzzled look on her face…Then she handed me to the two envelopes, mailed from two different cities in British Columbia. “Who is Frank?” she asked.}

My grandma may have had no idea who Frank was, but I had been writing to him since long before my jungle  adventure. I “met” Frank on what I suppose today would be called an internet chat room. Back then, it was called Wacko.  I was on the internet in 1993, back when we still called it the world wide web. Back when the internet was so new I still had to explain it to people.

So you mean to tell me,” said my dad, “that you can be ‘talking’ to somebody in Australia, and they will ‘talk’ back to you…right now?

Yes, Dad. In fact, I’m chatting with some one in Australia right now. See White Rabbit? She lives in Australia”.

Wacko was was set up in a fantasy world, made up of the written word. There were no pictures or graphics, it was all text. You would set up your character and log into Wacko. When you arrived it would say whatever text you typed, such as “Somora enters the room and walks over to Fredd. She picks up a nearby cup of coffee and takes a sip” or whatever. If you wanted to improve your typing skills in the early 90’s, Wacko was the place to do it! If you weren’t fast, you couldn’t keep up your end of the conversation. My Wacko screen name was Somora, a name chosen after a friend had a dream in which I called myself that. A few high school friends were also into Wacko and we would go there and chat after school.  We got to know the other regulars including a character named Fredd.

Fredd as it turns out was actually a professor and assistant researcher or-something-or-other at a university in Canada. He was very mathy and we both agreed his mathy-ness and my creativity brought balance to our friendship. We began writing letters and exchanging emails. For the most part, we met up on Wacko and wrote long letters to each other. Email was too blasé. We enjoyed the art of the handwritten letter. My letters from Frank were often 8 or 10 pages long, all hand written in his neat precise handwriting. I don’t remember how long my letters were, but I am sure they were comparable. Frank even wrote me several times while I was in Brazil…there was nothing new to me about letters (thick letters) from Frank, but since I had just moved to my grandma’s house, she wasn’t used to seeing my mail.

Frank is a friend” I explained to Grandma. “He’s a professor in Canada. We’ve been writing for a year or so.

Ah…a “friend”? How good of a friend? Why have you never mentioned him? What about Chuck?

From that moment on, my grandma was convinced I was involved in some kind of Canadian-American Love Triangle.  She could not fathom that any man not interested in me “in that  way” would write such long letters and on such a regular basis. She was on the edge of her  seat, watching and waiting (not at all) patiently for me to give up some clue.

No clues were needed. Frank and I wrote about math and research and trips he took for work. He made it his personal project to teach me the “fun” side of math. He was determined to make me love it. I wrote about my burning desire to save the world and make a difference somehow. He liked my youthful optimism. There was never anything romantic in our letters or emails, we were friends who happened to be the opposite sex.

I was busy with my first year of university. My official major was English, though I planned to transfer at some point to a university with a linguistics major, one of which happened to be in Canada. I couldn’t seem to avoid the country no matter what I did. My heart was set on becoming a Bible Translator and nothing was going to get in my way. I worked hard, studying Latin, Anthropology, English and Math. I made a few friends, and subsisted mainly on: yogurt, salad and bean burritos. Every evening I would come home from school at 5:30, brew a pot of coffee and drink the entire thing as I did my homework. Mornings I worked as a nanny from 8 am to 12 pm, then headed straight to school.

Chuck and I wrote on a regular basis, often two or three times per week. We shared our hopes and dreams and frustrations. He talked about our families, our childhood, school and work. Chuck always signed his letter “Chuck”. We were not involved in any type of romance with each other. Our letters were just as platonic and mine and Frank’s. For all I knew Chuck had a girlfriend. He started talking about coming for a visit in early January. He wanted to “see Alaska” after all, maybe do some skiing on the world famous Alyeska Ski Resort.

Then one day in November, I read my latest letter from Chuck and it was signed: Love, Chuck.


Read Part 8…

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2 thoughts on “Love on a Mission {Part VII}”

  1. Who could imagine a world without computers now. When I was little my dad installed an early computer system at his work – it filled a whole room!!! Also, when I was pregnant with my first baby 21 years ago, I made a television pilot programme about technology – we talked about how very soon we would all be able to sit in our living rooms and speak to each other – in ‘salons’ – personal computers we still a while away from being common place…

    …and never mind that!!!! Let’s get back to to the interestiung stuff … the LOVE Chuck bit!!!;)

  2. Crystal in Lynden

    I’m binge reading these all at one time as I have skipped over them as they came out. I love watching a season of shows all at once so readying all 10 in the series so far suits me very well. 🙂 Loving it. What about paragraph 3 – Are Fredd and Frank the same person? I’m confused there.

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