In Vermilion, Ohio, USA, Shelly Harper is home from school with a cold. Her dad works at home so that's OK. Shelly's dad brings in the mail.
There's a letter from Shelly's penfriend in Australia, Sarah Marx. Shelly opens the letter, which Sarah wrote last week. She reads about Sarah's latest discoveries about Alice.
Shelly can't wait till her dad has his computer linked to the Internet so she can send Sarah electronic mail. Maybe she and Sarah could then swap videos of their families, too.