Aug 9, 2010

Getting back into the swing--of blogging

Well, this blog has been neglected long enough.  Years ago, back in the age of snail mail, I used to write lots and lots of letters. This was even before it was common to call long distance to visit and keep up with family and friends.  It was always a treat to get a letter from family or friends who lived in other cities or areas of the country.  It was also fun for me to write about the happenings of my growing family and keep the grandparents apprised of what was going on with us. As time went by, the letters became fewer and fewer and instant communication became more and more common. But do we really communicate with the depth and concern that people did in times gone by?

I can remember when a long distance call almost certainly meant that someone dear in a distant place had passed away. No one back in the 1950's called long distance just to chit chat or even to make plans for a visit. That was done via handwritten letters delivered by the post office. I have even heard of a family back in the 1940's who took off and drove quite a distance to visit relatives only to find out the relatives had decided the same day to visit them.  Both families drove across the state to see each other only to miss connections. This was probably not uncommon, as there was no instant communication available. Chances are at least one of these families did not even have a telephone.
In the 1960's,  people would call long distance on the land line but usually try to keep the call short and too the point.  Then, we would often call on weekends or evenings to get the best rate and be able to talk longer for the same money or spend less money for the call.   

As late as the 1950's many people, even in cities, still had party lines.  If you were on a party line, often each party had a different ring, such as long and short rings and everyone of the 4 or 8 households on the party line could hear whenever anyone's phone rang.  We were on a 4 party line in San Antonio when I was small.  We could not hear anyone's phone ring except our own, but if you picked up the phone to make a call and another party was talking, you could hear them.  Being on a party line had a lot of draw backs, but I'm sure a lot of people listened in to others conversations and knew a lot about their neighbors that way.

And can you imagine a world where if you were not at home, you just missed any call that came in? There was not even an answering machine and certainly no caller id.  If you, or anyone on your party line, were talking and someone else called they just got a busy signal.  No call waiting either. You never knew who had called unless they called back later.  Answering machines and voice mail were big advancements.  Now you could at least get a message that someone had called and missed you. Telephone tag ensued.  Add caller id, call waiting, and call forwarding. Wow!

Next came email and cell phones. Email and instant messaging allowed instant communication with almost anyone in the world.  I had delusions of being able to communicate with family through email. This has not worked out. People don't always check email and it seems that so many emails lack the personal touch of a real letter. That's not always the case, but so many things are just passed around and there is so much spam, it is hardly worthwhile.  I have enjoyed instant messaging with some friends and relatives at times however and enjoy emails that are personal with real news and possibly pictures.
Now cell phones make it possible to always have a phone at hand. Again instant communication and the ability to text message any time and any place.

With iThis, iThat, laptops, blackberries, facebook, my space, instant messaging and all sorts of things this Granny is not up on, we can know instantly when someone sneezes anywhere in the world.  But, then I don't think we know each other as well as people did way back when we wrote letters.
Maybe that is the purpose of blogs today--to write in depth, to express opinions, to share your life in ways that more instant forms of communication miss.

At any rate, I intend to use this blog  more consistently from here on out. It can be the outlet that letter writing and journaling have been in the past.  True, it will continue to be a hodgepodge of topics, ideas, and interests, but that is my life. 
Expect to be back soon, expounding on various and sundry things.
Granny Hazel

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