Deep purple, like that color inside my eyelids when I close my eyes and try to remember the pieces from my past that are almost out of reach.

Sometimes I feel I’m just a little too old to have a firm grasp on the now seemingly necessary dominance of high-speed technology in everyday life, and the hand-held devices promising connection for us all (or for all who can afford such a device).

In high school, I did my research inside musty encyclopedias and whatever copies of reputable print journals I could find in the library. No smartphones, no surfing the web, no text messages or email.

College brought me email for the first time—it was a magical gift allowing me to receive virtual pieces of mail from friends who had gone away to other states for their higher education. In the back of my eyelids, in that deep purple haze, I recall now that we were communicating with a Pine email system, a text-based email client developed at the University of Washington in the late 80s, early 90s. How would life have been different then, if we also could have shared colorful photos like the ones found in those old print journals from my high school library, or on the Instagram feeds of today?

Catherine LaSota runs the LIC Reading Series in Long Island City, Queens; she eventually had email addresses with Chickmail, Yahoo, and Gmail.