April 24, 2015
I worked for AT&T for almost fifteen years. When it was the telephone company. When it was called Ma Bell. Before there were cell phones and other mobile devices, smart or not, and everyone had a land line.
And that’s why A.A. Gill’s commentary in the April issue of Vanity Fair titled “Good-Bye to ‘Hello’” was like someone dumping a bucket of ice water on me. I didn’t need the wake up call, although I still subscribe to magazines and check out books from the library. As Gill observes in his article, “We are coming to the end of the age of the telephone call and that may be a good or a bad thing, but it is a thing.”
I remember the age of the telephone call very well. I remember my grandmother being concerned about the cost of a long distance call. I remember my mother chatting on the phone while she did the family’s ironing. I remember my father working the phones at his place of business. I remember calling my folks weekly to check in when I was in college and for years afterwards.
Now, it’s all about texts and tweets. But even words are being replaced. Who needs them, if you can cut and paste emoticons and emoji? And, they’re so cute. And international, too.
There’s a saying that when you let go, something better will come along. You might even learn about it in a phone call, if you still have one. Me? I’m not hanging up. Not yet, anyway.
© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved
April 13, 2015
Did an older relative, maybe a parent or grandparent, ever describe how tough they had it as a kid? Maybe they told you how they had to walk to school… uphill… both ways… in the snow. Times were tough, but no tougher than now, as demonstrated in a Pickles comic strip by Brian Crane on March 8 of this year.
Mrs. Pickles asks Nelson, her grandson, “Did you brush your teeth?”
Nelson replies, “I can’t. The battery in my toothbrush is dead.”
Mrs. Pickles refuses to accept that excuse, telling him, “I’ve been brushing my teeth since before you were born, and I’ve never needed a battery to do it… Just put some toothpaste on it and brush the good old-fashioned way.”
Nelson refuses to go along with the program, and he complains, “Aww! This is like living in the olden days!”
As a kicker she responds, “And when you’re through with that you can churn some butter.”
Thank you, Brian Crane, for once again pointing out that no matter how much the world changes, we don’t lose our sense of humor, as we get older.
April 3, 2015
Continuing to work my way through the recommendations of the Association of Personal Historians on books with guidance on preserving one’s life or family history, I picked up a copy of To Our Children’s Children by Bob Greene and D.G. Fulford. First published in 1993, it continues to be helpful and inspiring. There are about 5 questions on each page of the two hundred-page book.
The first section covers the facts, just the facts, ma’am.
The facts include your name, gender, date of birth, and place of birth. They deal with basic data on your parents, your grandparents, your spouse, and your children.
Just to spice up the details, unless you’ve given up salt, there are questions on being right-handed or left-handed, near-sighted or far-sighted, and overweight or underweight.
Subsequent sections deal with all of the above in much more detail. Some of the many other topics addressed are the neighborhood where you grew up and the community where you live now, your education and career, your favorite holidays and celebrations, your hobbies and vacations, and your personality and life philosophy. Politics and history are also noted with questions that begin with: “Where were you when…?” For extra credit, the authors suggest answering the “hard” questions: Whom do you trust? Whom do you envy? What do you regret?
When working on a life or family history, I prefer to let the client dictate those areas on which he or she wants to focus. One memory often leads to other memories, and many more questions arise. Different subjects surface. Themes emerge. Still, when the going gets tough and nothing seems to move the project forward, I’m glad I have a copy of To Our Children’s Children.
© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved