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Stayed Too Long

Staying Current With Our Remote Families

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Being separated physically by many miles from our families presents it’s challenges. On our minds quite often is how they are doing, what’s the latest movie they watched, how is life with the new boy friend, did they gat the package you sent? Endless little things that make our hearts grow fonder each day. 

When I was in the Navy in Viet Nam, without a doubt, mail call was the high light of our day. We could not wait for a letter from home or a package containing cookies or candy. A picture of our family or buddies was the absolute greatest thing. Finding out the grandparents were doing just fine was vety comforting. I wasn’t married or had a girlfriend, but my shipmates who were, longed to know about their children’s school grades and who their latest friend was. I witnessed grown men completely break down when they got a “Dear John”  letter. One even jumped ship and swam ashore to the Viet Cong. 

My daughter and her family recently moved away from home. A promotion sent them a 1,000 miles away. Adjustment at first was quite difficult, but gradually it became easier to accept. Enter modern technology. The  separation has been so much easier to accept because of IM, Facetime, and the multitude of other communication devices. My daughters family just got a new puppy, and seeing the happiness in my granddaughters faces is immeasurable. Watching them chasing the pooch or him running them down is so much fun. Viewing them live as they open their birthday gifts is so neat. Just watching them for 15 minutes drawing their latest cartoon character, or seeing them staying within the lines coloring a teddy bear. Seeing my wife’s face light up as she so intently observes their every movement, is priceless.

Yes, modern technology has allowed our family to stay up to date with each other. Is it as good as physically being together? No. But, it is certainly  better than waiting weeks for a letter to arrive. 

 

 

 

Edited by Stayed Too Long
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I moved overseas in the late 80s and I used to write to my mum and sometimes send a cassette tape that I recorded.  It cost £3/minute to phone.

Now, with inclusive phone calls, and good broadband, we can phone or Zoom or Skype free, and grandparents can still read the kiddies a bedtime story, or help older kids with homework, as well as adults sharing news, and showing absent friends or relatives round the garden, or the painting/decorating they've just done, or the new car they just bought, etc, etc.  So much more fulfilling, and involving.  Not the same as being with a real person, but definitely better than nothing.

Am Zooming with a lot of friends etc now, with the lockdowns.  It's been very nice.

It's still nice to get a letter or a card, though.  Something physical, to hold and to treasure.

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It wasn't that long ago that mailing was the best way to have lengthy communications with someone in another country.   Then it was email and then instant messaging.  I remember celebrating on New Years Eve with 2 households, with a videocamera that had no sound, and typing quickly to communicate, or using visuals (like raising a toast.)   Then IM services had added video chat, and Skype came along, and the past month or so Zoom was catapulted into center stage (plus WhatsApp and Facetime are around, too.)   

I'm quite comfortable video-chatting with family and friends.  I know some kids are using Discord for audio-only groups, but I haven't gotten around to that.   Still, with a good connection for audio and video, you can interact quite a bit with loved ones in a way you couldn't do (or at least I couldn't do)  until the beginning of the 21st century (or end of the 20th for the early adopters who were ahead of me.)    In that regard, things have really changed for the better. 

There's a certain irony that some of the elderly could GREATLY benefit from regular use of Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, and quite often they're very reluctant to try them, as if they're radioactive or something.  

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49 minutes ago, WordWolf said:

It wasn't that long ago that mailing was the best way to have lengthy communications with someone in another country.   Then it was email and then instant messaging.  I remember celebrating on New Years Eve with 2 households, with a videocamera that had no sound, and typing quickly to communicate, or using visuals (like raising a toast.)   Then IM services had added video chat, and Skype came along, and the past month or so Zoom was catapulted into center stage (plus WhatsApp and Facetime are around, too.)   

I'm quite comfortable video-chatting with family and friends.  I know some kids are using Discord for audio-only groups, but I haven't gotten around to that.   Still, with a good connection for audio and video, you can interact quite a bit with loved ones in a way you couldn't do (or at least I couldn't do)  until the beginning of the 21st century (or end of the 20th for the early adopters who were ahead of me.)    In that regard, things have really changed for the better. 

There's a certain irony that some of the elderly could GREATLY benefit from regular use of Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, and quite often they're very reluctant to try them, as if they're radioactive or something.  

I have a close relative who seems to hold it as a badge honor that she has never attempted any type of modern communication. Not even a cell phone. She was given a cell phone by her daughter to use in case of an emergency. I asked what the cell number was and was told, with a smile on her face, “I threw it in the bottom of my purse and have no plans to ever use it.”  She could connect with her children and grandkids, but refuses to do so. Go figure.

Edited by Stayed Too Long

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10 minutes ago, Stayed Too Long said:

I have a close relative who seems to hold it as a badge honor that she has never attempted any type of modern communication. Not even a cell phone. She was given a cell phone by her daughter to use in case of an emergency. I asked what the cell number was and was told, with a smile on her face, “I threw it in the bottom of my purse and have no plans to ever use it.”  She could connect with her children and grandkids, but refuses to do so. Go figure.

:doh: That's sad.

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Some people get wiser as they get older. Some just seem to get older.  Although, I think they get a little wiser, but they're so unwise overall that it doesn't appear like they gained ANY wisdom since they were still unwise afterwards.    Even those I know who are clumsy with tech know how to get in touch with their families.

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6 hours ago, Stayed Too Long said:

I have a close relative who seems to hold it as a badge honor that she has never attempted any type of modern communication. Not even a cell phone. She was given a cell phone by her daughter to use in case of an emergency. I asked what the cell number was and was told, with a smile on her face, “I threw it in the bottom of my purse and have no plans to ever use it.”  She could connect with her children and grandkids, but refuses to do so. Go figure.

And yet, some older folk espouse modern technology with great zeal.  Friend's dad, now passed on, set his skype up so that anyone could call him.  He got a lot of foreign language callers, who wanted to practise their English.  And he had some amazing conversations with these random strangers.

I think my own granddad would have espoused this with zeal.  He in his youth was an experimenter with photography, built radios, "borrowed" the first car into the village and drove it round and round till it ran out of petrol (no accident, just didn't know how to brake).  Was an avid listener to short-wave radio all his life.

Inexplicable that in these days of scattered families, some choose not to learn and refuse to maintain family links.  

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