On Reddit.com there's a new post that throws you back to a different time in PHP's life - back to 1996 when PHP was still in version 3:
I was lurking one day on Usenet Perl forums when I saw an announcement about the release of PHP 2.0/FI, the first truly public version of PHP. I was growing weary of trying to get PERL working via CGI and fell in love immediately with how simple and fault-tolerant mod_php with Apache was compared to CGI hell. In 1996, they didn't have sites like reddit when I was a noob. They didn't even have Google when I first learned PHP (years before google existed). Hell! php.net's search functionality barely worked. I don't remember there be any real documentation until after PHP 4 came out in mid-2000.
Other people have added their own memories to the post, mentioning how they started out with the language and some opinions on its current state.