Tuesday, June 16, 2009

StarText People: Craig Lancaster

Former StarText subscriber and columnist Craig Lancaster, pictured "then" and "now."

"Hi, Gerry ...

"Stephen Benoit [see next post] and I have been reminiscing about the early days of StarText. You might remember that I wrote another column, one that came after his and Appelt's, that also ostensibly was supposed to reflect average teen life.

"I got hooked on StarText through my stepfather, Charles Clines, who at the time was a sportswriter at the S-T. We had a couple of computers -- a Texas Instruments something-or-other and my first, an Atari 800.

"My memories are not so much of the column -- indeed, I can't remember what it was called -- but of the wonder of instantly being able to "meet" so many people, all by sitting in the front room of our house there in North Richland Hills. For a while, I carried on a torrid, silly, early-teen romance with a girl on the southwest side of Fort Worth, someone I never would have met any other way. A precursor to eHarmony!

"At some point in my later teens, other interests overtook me -- I'm blaming, in this order, girls and cars and stereos -- but I remember the air of familiarity, a decade later, when e-mail and Internet usage barreled back into my life, connecting me to a much larger world.

"I've enjoyed reading about all of this again, and remembering those early days online."

Best wishes,
Craig Lancaster
Copy desk team leader
The Billings (Mont.) Gazette

Craig -- It's not only pleasure to hear from another StarText teen columnist but also one with ties to the Star-Telegram. I worked with Charles for many years in the Star-Telegram newsroom.

It's interesting to read about Craig's "online romance" as part of his StarText experience. We were amazed to learn there were as many as five marriages that happened as a result of subscribers "hooking up" online -- and at least one divorce we heard about. eHarmony indeed!

I want to encourage everyone to visit Craig's web site and learn more about his work as an author with a soon-to-be-published novel and another in the works. As a visitor to Montana, I can affirm it more than earns its nickname of "Big Sky Country."

Thanks for your contribution and please give Charles my best regards.