Before we could friend, unfriend, and like, we caught up in person.

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What did we ever do before Facebook?  Bet you’ve heard Mama'n'em say that at one time or another. Conversational news hounds that we are, Southerners took to Facebook like butter to a biscuit. We like to talk. We like to know stuff about each other. We like to brag about our kids, grandkids, and fur babies. We want to know what time the funeral starts and “who all’s” going to the cemetery afterward. Facebook is perfect for that.

While it’s difficult to remember a South without Facebook, there was a time in our not-so-distant past when we needed other sources of local gossip about our friends and family. These were the dark days of telephone booths (and long distance charges), rabbit-ear TV antennas wrapped with tinfoil to enhance reception, and cameras with flashcubes perched on top. Who knows how we survived.

When it came to keeping us in the know, what was before Facebook?

1. The Beauty Shop

Anytime we were feeling out of the loop, we’d just book an appointment at the Curl Up & Dye. By the time the permanent rods were secured, we’d be all caught up.

2. The Grocery Store

Publix, Winn Dixie, The Pig—we could get real smiles, frowns, thumbs up, and bless-your-hearts as we pushed our buggies through those emoji-free zones.

3. Your P.O.

Especially in small Southern towns, “the mailman” knew EVERYTHING that was going on. Or you could stop by your local post office and chat with your neighbors while you bought your stamps or shipped those vinyl records back to Columbia House.

4. Your Avon Lady

Girl, she could load you up with news while you sampled the latest summer corals.

5. The Bank

Back when people received actual paper checks and drove them to an actual brick-and-mortar bank, Mama’n’em had their favorite tellers—women who would fill them in while they cashed it in (Daddy's check, that is).

6. Church

Some things never change. With or without Facebook, we know we can always head to the fellowship hall to get the latest dish.

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