Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Communicating? What is it and how is it for me?

I still love to write old-fashioned letters and do to family and a few friends. It seems they each really like handwritten, old fashioned letters. They are how I grew up communicating with folk who were not living in our house and fell comfortable.
There was only one public phone box in the village, no-one had a phone at home, perhaps the two doctors who lived elsewhere but provided daily healthcare and advice to the villagers had office phones, I don’t know. In short, generally, we did not communicate by phone. Dad scheduled a time each Christmas when all seven of us, at a prearranged time, crowded into and around the lone, red, phone booth to speak with his parents who lived in southern England on the coast. Since they were the care-takers for a facility for inner city London people to have a holiday by the sea, owned by the Methodist Mission in East London, a phone was installed in their kitchen.

Email arrived as a possibility when I was about 50 years old and it felt like a blessing for being in touch with my family in England seemingly without cost. Then, in academia, it became the ‘de rigueur ‘ form of communication. This quickly led to the idiocy of people emailing others whose offices were one or two etc. doors away, on the same floor. More, what used to be a face-to-face conversation now required five, six or more email “conversation/discussion pieces.” My hackles went up and I broke the chain often by appearing at someone’s office to ask for a time when we could discuss X or Y before the next committee meeting. I still actively resist email as THE way to communicate among teams/committees. Young folk have now virtually given it up as a mechanism.

I text and receive texts from friends and family and although they can be a lot of fun, joy, and easing worry about the impact of some local disaster, they lack depth in the old sense of what communication looked and sounded like. Maybe they are changing what communication means for users as the easy, instant heart emoji replaces the phrase that was such a crucial, heartfelt and meaningful one. I just now learned that the fabulous and new ‘bitmoji’ does not have the possibility of one for a person my sort of age … they all make me look fifty five or so.

Finally lets go to Whatsapp. I am loving being on a Whatsapp group that encompasses all folks connected through my Mom and Dad – most of them in England, and my son, daughter, their spouses and offspring in the USofA. A British niece created it after two events in 2019: my 80th B’Day celebrated, courtesy of my daughter, in Leeds where I was born and later the death of my much-loved and well-known brother. For me and for them it is serving the process of strengthening family ties well. There is currently a worry about malware a hacker has insinuated in to Whatsapp … so watch this space!

Let me apologize here for such a lengthy response, and to thank you for staying with me here.

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Like Pamela, I grew up hand writing letters, notes, cards, reports, etc. And like her, I developed arthritis and tremors in my 60s. I bought a typewriter 2 years ago, because I wanted to send messages which could be held in the recepient’s hand. The typewriter keys are too “stiff” for me to use! I’ve begun printing by hand. To communicate with my generation of folks, I use paper and pen. For my children’s generation, I use email. For the grandchildren, it’s texting. Texting for me is limited to a couple short sentences, as I still use a flip phone. I do use a landline occasionally, because my son thought it an improvement over the flip phone. My daughter and I use cell phones. My husband and I communicate with difficulty, which is by now, an old habit. My version is he lectures and sermonizes, I ask questions of him which only need a one word answer. It’s not like it used to be with any of the above. My son is the only relative I have who still sends handwritten thank you notes. He must have had a wonderful mother. LOL…..

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I grew up in a world of written communication, and, though my Palmer Penmanship always came up short, I loved sharing with friends by writing to them. Then – back in my late sixties, my hands fell victim to the double whammy of arthritis and tremors (lack of control.) My handwritten notes are much shorter now, and more laborious to create – so I “type” my notes and letters and tuck them in pretty cards. It is, after all, the intent, not the physical ability.

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I do most of my communicating online (don’t fit in much with other gals my age in this conservative area). The little bit of face-2-face communicating I do around here is me only speaking if I’m spoken to first and then responding in 3- or 4-word sentences (“Oh, really?”, “Uh huh”, “I guess”, etc.) because the few gals I talk to and have tried to reach out to in friendship (nothing weird, just “hey want to do lunch sometime?”, “want to come to one of the book club mtgs?”) made it pretty clear they weren’t interested yet want me to listen to them talk *at* me when they feel like it. Wish I’d learned earlier that just because someone seems to be talking at you in a friendly manner doesn’t necessarily (heck, usually) mean they want to be your friend.

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