Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Communication changes in my lifetime

Most of us feel the need to be connected. Without our connections to others we feel isolated, alone, and sometimes depressed. I believe there is a healthy need that expresses itself in normal activites and perhaps a pathological state where the slightest separation creates panic or grave discomfort. 

Electricity has permitted us to be connected in ways unpredictable just over a century ago. The early phone system permitted women, isolated in their homes, to have community conversations on the “party line”. About the same time radio in all its manisfestatons began to bring the outer world into the family living room and instaantly wherever there was a transmitter there was sharing of local news. 

Newer phone systems abolished the “party line”, but women were working outside the home during the World war II years and there was less isolation. During the early 50's, television by its sitcoms and other programs gave us the illusion of being connected while slowly leaching out conversational skills. For some “What will we talk about...?” was a palpable fear. For those who made the effort in the early years, computers and what soon became possible with them, soon replaced the jaundiced and repetitively boring world of television. Communication with friends and family by email replaced the laborious handwritten letter. Often, the email was a little more carefully phrased then something blurted out suddenly by phone. Many of us chose to communicate this way as it became more widespread.. Libraries were utilized less as access to great knowledge resources became cheaply and instantly available. 

The smartphone has added a new layer to communication as it a phone married to a computer. 
Texting is wildly popular as it still gives the thoughtful a way to communicate carefully before pushing the “send” button. Siri (the phone program that allows you to replace finger strokes with voice recognition) makes that process still faster..but one is advised to think carefully before speaking. 

As a retiree, I have more discretionary time. My computer and iPhone allow me almost instantaneous connection with those who are important to me. FaceBook lets me be in tune with family and friends.Twitter gives me quick information on what is happening “out there”. Applications on the iPhone fill in the gaps....I search and add those I need, and since most of them are free, I delete those that no longer fill a useful function. I could live comfortably without TV. Being without my iPhone would really feel frustrating. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


When we first moved to Brandermill from Roanoke I could scarcely walk a hundred feet. That's how much the pain of arthritis had debilitated me. While driving around the neighborhood area I became aware that there were really fine macadamized trails around being used recreationally be walkers and bicyclers. It was easy to be envious.

Then hip operations a year and a half ago made it possible to consider the possibility of exploring those trails. Looking back at my blogs I see where I walked around the circles in my immediate vicinity up to mile this past February. These were estimates using the car odometer. A few months later an iPod walking app revealed that it wasn't quite a mile.

This summer my grandson and I began our first forays onto the trails. It wasn't long before we were regularly walking a mile and a half. One morning we broke the two mile barrier and did so again yesterday. I'm so grateful for this accomplishment.

The trails run through wooded sections of our development and often parallel to the main highway we use to go for groceries. The planners laced the whole large area of our development with these trails and what a delight it is to explore them.

 We have met other walkers who seem to be regulars...taking care of their health one of the cheapest and most delightful ways. I look forward to seeing the changes that Fall will bring.

The trails cross over Brandermill Parkway several places and this morning as we approached the road a car saw us and stopped to
let us us cross. This is the second or third time I've noticed this

consideration for walkers. It is, after all, a neighborhood where
people wave to total strangers who drive our area.

We took these pictures several weeks ago during our morning walk. I feel so very privileged to be a part of his growing up years.