10 years ago today...

February 15, 2007

1. UPS delivered my first computer..had never even touched one before

2. DH set it up for me and showed me the basics

3. I struggled to make that little cursor thing stay on the monitor by moving that weird thing called a mouse

4.. Found the Garden Web and then the Garden Party

5. Read a couple of threads where people here were helping someone out who was going through a rough patch.

6. I realized that all my preconceived ideas that people who "talked" on computers were probably not too smart,was hogwash

7. Instantly felt connected to this group in a way I can't explain

8. And all this in a period of about 2 hours.

What a day that's changed my life.

Do you remember how you felt the first time you discovered the Garden Party..not so much what it was like back then,but your impressions of it?

Comments (35)

  • oscarthecat

    Yes, but I have a question. Do we still have garden parties? I mean real ones. With the lights in the trees and soft music playing. The ladies in summer dresses and the guys in soft shirts. The food delicious. The conversation delightful. Or am I just an antique? Steve in Baltimore County.

  • mwoods

    Yes,there are still garden parties,at least around here. Sometimes they are in the afternoons though.

    What were your first impressions of the GP?

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  • calliope

    Yes, I remember it. I had a computer some time before I decided to go online with it....using it mostly for business, word processing and of course games!!!! I think I went online in April of '96. The very first things I brought up on the search engine were of course, what else???? gardens and flowers. LOL. I was using the Excite search engine. Garden Web was the first site I bookmarked, and like you I found it within hours. There couldn't have been more than ten forum on the whole site and I don't think the party was part of it yet. The first site I visited was favs and it was a post about peonies. I don't remember my first post on the Party, but R.A. was here and how could anyone resist jumping on one of her threads?

    I was hopelessly addicted very quickly and read every forum on the GW every night and it only took an hour or two. We got into some deep doo back then, when we were getting to know each other. Heavy stuff. Totally funny stuff too. I awoke my husband more than one night, laughing so hard I was crying. It's a good bunch, and it attracts a good bunch and I still say Spike had a lot to do with what kind of crowd it attracted.

  • andie_rathbone

    Well we got our first computer in 1981 & there was no Internet as we know of today. In fact, that may be the start of a new thread - Your first computer because we laugh about that frequently.

    We got on the Internet at the beginning of 1996. DH had a client who owned an ISP & he got us hooked up at teh "blazing speed" of 28.8 kbps! I found out about the GW from a newspaper article in the St Louis Post-Dispatch that listed gardening web sites. And Although, I can't remember the exact date, I do know that I first clicked on the site in March, 1996. There was no GP forum then & the number of general gardening forums was so small that you could easily check them all in a couple of hours at night.

    I lurked for a couple of days, but then in the midst of a nasty mid-March snow storm, I took a deep breath & posted how sick I was of winter. And wow! All of a sudden there were about 40 responses to my post. From then on, I was hooked.

    If I'm remembering correctly, we all started chatting about what would now be called "off-topic" issues on the Favorites Forum & finally, in self-defense I think, Spike opened the GP in October of that year.

    Back then the idea of an Internet community was a strange concept to most people& I remember people giving me strange looks when I'd reveal how I'd run home from work & log on to see what had been going on on the forums all day.

    And Suzy, you're right. Spike did a good job of keeping these forums civil, which is probably why, after almost 1 years, I'm still checking in here almost every day.

  • Josh

    The GP reminded me a little of college days when you could join into conversations about hairstyles, or join another group arguing about whether more history or psychology should be required, then veering off to a group planning spring break trips. Always something going never knew what direction some of the conversations would take and you couldn't stay away. (I was a night owl then too...LOL). At the GP I liked the mix of ideas and opinions of people from different parts of the country and various ages/stages of their lives.

    Also reminded me a little of some of the early alternative newspapers and Whole Earth Catalog...everyone just seemed friendly and helpful...although I guess I'm thinking more of GW as a whole and not just the GP. Still, I do remember feeling "connected" too, Marda.

    I wonder too if it's the gardening gene...does that make us more acceptable and accepting when we know everyone must have a bit if not a lot of interest in one of our passions? You just figure they must be good guys at heart...LOL

    Anyway, I'm awfully glad we're all here and wish more who just read would join us...josh

    P.S. Steve, I've never particularly enjoyed large gatherings, though your description sounds tempting. I much prefer small groups of four to six where you can really talk and not just chitchat. I'm not sure that would be called a 'garden party'...just an evening with friends. It's especially nice that we can visit any time of the day or night, rain or shine, at the GP. josh

  • endorphinjunkie

    Right before 9/11 and the great purge. Didn't hang around and didn't come back 'til the end of 03.

  • endorphinjunkie

    Oh, and my first home computer was either an Atari or Radio Shack Tandy something or other. Both had tape drives and no hard drive to speak of The Tandy had 4kb to work with.

    Was on the milnet and arpnet in the late 70's up until the public internet was developed.

  • countrygirlsc, Upstate SC

    endorphinjunkie, you must have had a color computer. My first computer was the Tandy Color Computer from Radio shack which only had the 4k and I had external disk drive with it. My, my, how times have changed!

  • endorphinjunkie

    That was it. It hooked up to a television screen. Used an old fashion tape recorder to save my programs.

  • Pidge

    Wow, Marda, what a memory you have but so, it seems, does everyone else.

    I got my first computer in 1983 or 1984, an IBM with a word processing program that I laugh about now but I thought was pretty cool at the time. I really didn't get on the inernet much until 1996, when I was recovering from my first and I hope only heart attack, got a new computer that had functions beyond my wildest dreams. I don't recall how long it took me to find the GardenWeb, but like others have already said, I googled gardens and there it was. I was hooked practically instantly.

    What is best about finding this place is the friends I've made through it. I was a little scared at first about just what kind of folks would turn up--you remember all those horror stories that went around, don't you?--and then I met a bunch of folks at Longwood one summer Saturday and many of them are still among my favorite friends.

  • calliope

    Our first little computer was a Commodore 64, it had to have been some time before 1984, because I was still married to my ex, and I bought it for my kids and played on it late at night when they were asleep. Their Dad bought them an external drive, and the first game I ever played on it was Pac Man and I think they had Mario. The monitor was a little TV. I remember typing in programs to it. They had to be perfect, one little mis-key and it glitched. Hours to make it do the simplest thing like mimic a baby-doll sound.

  • mwoods

    Pidge,I didn't remember the date. I've kept journals for over 25 years and knew the year and that it was winter but had to look up the rest. i wonder if this place will be around in 10 more years.

  • lindac

    So well I remember!
    I got my first computer in...maybe '81? It was an Apple II C or E...I forget. Then I upgraded to one my son was replacing...but I still couldn't connect to the net without making a long distance phone call....and the traffic was so heavy that you often made call after call before you could get on line. So I nixed that. Then in January of '97 an internet provider decided to provide service in my town and I was there!!
    Sometime, I think it was March, I was, ironically, on an iVillages gardening site, and I asked a question about when to start something in central Iowa...and before I knew it, Cora Lea emailed me asking me where in central Iowa I lived. We email chatted and discovered she knew my son-in-law. Then she recommended the Garden Party....and I was hooked! Ruthann, Suzanne, The misAnthrope! Reb and Bill, Lynn A, Marie, Lowercase suzy, Andie...
    I am afraid I wandered away with the coming of "the Tattler"...but I still check every week or so...more often when it's 10 below and blowing!!
    Here's a blast from the past!
    My note on the picture says July of 98.
    Linda C

  • Pidge

    Linda, was JanetM from MD in that photo? And even as I look at it I see her in the pink shirt in the back row.

  • theoj

    GardenWeb was the first place I found on the internet too.
    We first had a Commodore 64 too but couldn't get the internet on that so, we bought a WebTV which I loved. Liked it better than any computer I've had since. I think that was l993. Long time ago.

  • lilod

    I just checked my '97 Journal, the first one on a computer. Got it in March, I used Word a lot with my snail-mail pen-pals, some of whom switched e-mail eventually.
    I discovered the Garden-web in July '97 when I worried about an inappropriately planted poplar, very close to the house and right on the weather side. El Ninio was coming and I really wanted confirmation that the tree had to go, I knew it but was in denial. Such nice and helpful people on the tree forum. So I lurked about and found the Garden Party
    have been participating ever since.

  • suzanne_il

    My husband's first computer was purchased some time in the early 80's. He bought it for the accounting business he was setting up. If I remember correctly there was no such thing as Windows or any other decent operating system. He had to remember a succession of key strokes to get the computer to do anything! He tried to explain, but wow, it was way too complicated. Was there an internet back then? Maybe, but there were probably only 6 people "online".

    His machine was a Kaypro and we laugh about it. It was encased in a metal housing, it reminded me of a Volkswagen sitting on the dining room table - no in-home offices back then either.

    He would occasionally trade up and sometime in the late
    90's I started playing some computer games. We finally connected to the internet and I remember somehow figuring out how to do a search. The first garden site I found was something called "Gothic Gardener". It was pretty funny she had all types of garden plans that were based on poisonous plants, plants based on themes from Hamlet. She did also have lots and lots of warning about stealing her ideas.

    The second site I found was the Garden Web. It was shortly after Spike created the Garden Party. The first purge included Burgundy who as I remember attempted to sell stuff. Spike kept things very safe with his rules. I was particularly disappointed by a group that did some damage.

    Linda's picture captures some of the old timers. I can identify most of them and have found memories of our times together. What funny stories we can tell. Linda didn't you find yourself in a less than ladylike position when you had to climb over a fence to exit the park. (We stayed until after closing.)

    Ruthanne was the original den mother for the group. She reminded me of Erma Bombeck - so funny and down to earth. Shortly after I arrived at the party she invited me to her house for lunch. She lives about 40 minutes from here. I was scared to death, not really because of the axe murderer aspect of the internet, but because I really respected her and wanted her to like me.

    The really tall man in the back row is Bill from Missouri. How many wonderful memories of him. He worked at a small radio station where employees were often called to do double and triple duty. He posted a thread telling the tale of climbing the transmission tower in dress shoes to knock ice off the structure.

    I doesn't seem that we tell alot of tales anymore. Lots of funny things happen in our lives.

    It's been a very interesting ride. Alot of the people I've met in person have become close friends.

    Thanks Linda for posting the picture. It's awesome to see all those faces again and remember the good time we had.

  • endorphinjunkie

    Suzanne, That was Malice. Alice at the University of Georgia.

    It were a hoot....

  • lindac

    Yeah...that was Janet M pink shirt....and Liz and Big.
    And kind of you to were also there...or how would know??? LOL!
    And who was it that used to order another martini and say it's just gin!!! and when someone would suggest she might have dinner....she would pop an olive into her mouth!!
    Anyone hear from Marie? I remember a couple of 2 AM nights, closing the bar!
    This is a mishmosh...back then I knew even less about how to save a picture.....but here it is.
    I see Ruthanne, and Toni and suzy...AKA calliope Spike and his girlfriend Suzy, Pam, SPS....and who is that with Spike and his girlfriend?

  • andie_rathbone

    Our first computer was in 1981 & it was an Osborne. DH got it to use in his law practice. It was a CPM machine, before DOS, which makes it a veritable antique. About 3 years later we "upgraded" to the "portable" Kaypro. What a joke that was! It weighed about 50 lbs! But it had 64K in RAM & goodness how could you ever use all that up? It also came with bundled software - Wordstar, Visicalc & a basic database program.

    By the time we hooked up to the Internet we were on one of our many versions of the IBM PC & I think we even had a CD drive on that one. However, we still had the horrible dot matrix printer.

  • Josh

    Theo, I'm still using the Webtv Plus unit I bought in 1998. I'd already fallen in love with the basic Webtv on which I'd found Gardenweb in 1996. My son had a Commodore 64 too, then several computers but I hated sitting at a desk in a back room...give me the sofa and tv! Bill Gates bought Webtv and now there are new MSNTV's but I still prefer my old favorite...I hold my breath every time I turn it on after 9 years though. LOL

    Suzanne mentioned the ax murderer myth. I have a confession. I started posting in early December 1996 and Marie from Atlanta emailed me about garden fences making good neighbors and we just seemed to hit it off. Well, around Christmas she said she and a GW friend from IL were going to come visit ...gosh, I couldn't believe 2 folks I'd never met were going to drive 100 miles...and who was the "friend from IL" and how well did Marie know her/him? I'm ashamed to say I made an excuse and put the visit I've regretted this ever since!

    Of course later I realized that I'd been foolish...Marie was just the nicest person ever! And I figured out later that Jo Haskins was the "friend from IL". Jo and I have since exchanged dried flowers/foliage several times, but I've never admitted to her (or Marie) that I was uneasy about the proposed visit. If Marie or Jo read this, I hope they'll overlook my timidity and trepidation as a "newbie" of less than a month online. I can't believe I'm 'fessing up at last but since most of you oldies know Marie and Jo (and are probably laughing at the thought of anyone being afraid to meet them!) I thought it would add to the discussion of how we all felt when first online at the GP.

    Did any of you meet in person with an email friend within the first month online? How soon did you feel comfortable meeting email friends in person? josh josh

  • mwoods

    I have met so many I can't count them all,either through get togethers,GPers driving through the area,or my driving through theirs, and GPers who live not too far from me. One time several flew in and stayed here for a weekend. I joined in February and went to my first Get Together that summer.The idea of meeting people from the get go never made me uncomfortable and I really looked forward to it. I'm so glad I did because one of them passed away and I will always remember her. But in all honesty I don't look at it today as I did then. Maybe it's because it was all so new,but then I was eager to meet everyone who posted and now I'm not.

  • andie_rathbone

    Marie is still in Atlanta & is still writing & has also gotten into painting landscapes & recently helped to sponsor a gallery exhibit in Athens where her mother & brother still live.

    There have been so many friendships that have come out of the GP. The first get together I went to was one for the Texas GP'ers one fall Saturday at the Mercer Arboretum in Houston. DH thought I was nuts, but then figured I couldn't get into too much trouble since I was only gong to be gone for an afternoon. That's when I met Linda E from Louisiana.

    The next year I went to the Chicago get together & what a treat to finally put faces to all the names I had been chatting with for several years!

  • lindac

    I'm on a roll!
    Think this was '99

  • suzanne_il

    Oh gosh - I think that's my favorite redhead - ANDIE!!

    We had made such fun fodder of Martha Stewart that year. I announced to the clan that there would be a surprise guest at the Sunday Get Together brunch.

    Using the scarecrow framework my daughter and I had constructed and a photocopied image of Martha created the Martha-crow. Everybody had a big laugh. I can't remember did we toss raw eggs at Martha?

    Linda - per the original photo you posted. That's Marie in the bottom right corner in the hat (of course). First row on the far right is Hillary who was a Wicken I believe. She baked a fabulous cherry clafouti for the picnic. The dark haired woman in the middle of the row - gosh, I can't remember her name but I do remember her father was a Nobel prize winning physicist. She the one that got skewered by a certain was sad because she was a nice person. To her left is Cora Lea (her husband Tom was taking the photo as always), in the black is Toni who was the head gardener at Blackberry Creek where the picnic was traditionally held. She has since retired.

    Second row far left is Rebecca Moses from Texas. What a wonderful person I miss her terribly. My eyes are failing me on the next three but I think one of them is Dori, Robert in Alabama's wife. The young woman with the sunflower on her shirt is Rena from Oklahoma. For some reason that year her and I were driving around the back roads and she seemed to be getting very nervous.

    "I gotta get back to Oklahoma", she said.

    "Why?" I asked.

    "Because it's TOO GREEN HERE!" was her reply.

    Now that's a first - a gardener that claims it's too green!

    The lovely blonde in black, next to Rena is Linda C. You know, the one with the GREAT JEWELRY!

    That guy in the tie-die tee shirt is Robert Bigfoot, with his arm around Liz who he met right here at the Garden Party. They're now married.

    Janet Menke in the dark pink and Louise from Michigan next to her in blue. Louise got married a couple of years later and her and her husband good naturedly (along with Robert and Dori) endured our "faux wedding ceremony" at that year's picnic.

    Ruthanne is in the Jackie Onassis sunglasses. Love her, miss her so much. A couple of other people mixed in there I can't identify.

    Thanks for the memories.

  • andie_rathbone

    LOL! You can always trust Linda C to dig out photos from her computer. She never cleans out her files!

    Suzanne, your Sunday brunches at th4e gettogethers were always wonderful. Dishes decorated with pansies & nasturtiums - beautiful as well as delicious.

    Do you still have that great water feature made out of an old wringer washer?

  • suzanne_il

    Yep, I still have that wringer washer pondette. The pump died last summer so I'll have to find another one. They were everywhere a couple years ago when ponds were hot, but now it's appearing more difficult to locate.

  • alan_tx_z6

    I haven't been to the Garden Party for many many years. I was just wondering what ever happened to my favorite web site! It took a while to find my way here (site has changed a lot) and here is this post about "10 years ago".... time flies. I see several names I remember from back then still posting here. I had forgotten about Spike! He was a blast. It was a lot of fun just reading everyones posts.... I see a post above that mentioned Big Foot and Liz, how could you ever forget those posts!

    Anyway, nice to see you guys are here, keep up the good work!

  • lindac

    And I won't tell you about the stalled computer and the 18,000 emails...really eighteen thousand!!!
    Here's something from the archives!

  • dirtdiver

    I keep meaning to switch my user name again...

    Ten years ago, I think I was already on GW--I suspect I came on slightly after Andie, because I think it was just about the time the GP started. I had an Internet connection of sorts in the early '90s--something called "Prodigy" that was pretty basic and didn't have much of a graphic interface. I switched to a Mac in '94 and started using the precursor to Netscape. I ventured onto GW when I had a question about black tomatoes. I chose my user name accordingly. Bigfoot was one of the first to answer my question, along with a Robin from Calif.

    Suzanne, Diana was the dark-haired daughter of a Nobel physicist. I saw her name in the paper not too long ago in a listing of area how-to classes (hers was mosaics). I'm in that group photo of Linda C's too, looking, unfortunately, rather better and younger than I do now. And, Linda C, I fear the martini drinker may have been me. Are olives not a legitimate food group?

    Ms. Ann Thrope

  • suzanne_il

    Remember this? It's no wonder what you'll find when you clean out a desk drawer.

    This was the year that suzy attended I believe. And Mary B. treated me to a wonderful prime rib dinner. We sat and discussed psychology and friendship for a VERY long time. Had to tip the waiter a little extra for tying up his table for so long.

    Remember to slow down when you pass Alice's Place in Elburn (the one with the giant ice cream cone on the roof) because that town is a speed trap.

    Linda - Didn't you have some kind of problem with this map? I thought it was perfectly good. HA HA HA.


  • andie_rathbone

    ROTFL! Suzanne I remember that map! Now Linda C didn't get lost too often, but I do remember that Marie & Rebecca were severely directionally challenged. However they always managed to find something interesting while tying to make their way to their final destination.

  • lindac

    And the Martini drinker surfaces!! How ae you Ann? Just fine I see!!
    Suzanne....the map that got me confused ( but I will admit I didn't get lost...just took about an hour to get there and on the map it looked like just down the road a piece) anyhow....the confusing map was the year before....much less detailed!! LOL!
    Wondering if you are still finding corks in the gardens!
    But one year someone....forget who....directed me the "back way" from your house to Buffalo Grove....
    Yeah! Sure....Way back! I really got very lost....Thank God for a cell phone!
    Who was that? Escorted me to the corner in the cornfield and pointed that way! LOL!
    Linda C

  • coconut_nj

    Ah, yes. So good to see so many of you.

    I was first lured/invited to the GP by g'ann, shortly after Spike started the Kitchen Table. I fell in love at first sight. So many smart, funny humanoids in one place and they all loved gardening as much as I did. The feeling of instant familiarity is one I'll never forget. It was like sinking into a whole pond of like-minded individuals. I pretty much dove right in, but spent lots of time fascinated, learning the style and story of each member. To this day it only took until the second sentence for her writing style to reveal mwoods was Marda. Smiles.

    Not that there werenÂt many different ages, classes, views and sensibilities represented. There were, in spades, heh. However, the overall feeling wasÂ. Family. Family of choosing.

    Just last week I came across my camp teeshirt.

  • mwoods

    Well what do you know,it's coconut. How in the heck are you? I see you're still in NJ,and are you still cooking up a storm? How great to see you posting and PLEASE stop by once in awhile. It's so nice you're here.

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