It’s funny how different times are now. My husband and I were reminiscing at supper tonight to our 17 year old about friends in high school and college, and how little contact we have with any of them if at all, even having very little knowledge of what has become of many of them. It is so different for both of my boys, one a 17yo junior in high school, and one a sophomore in college 950 miles away. While eating dinner, my oldest son called, and we told him we couldn’t talk b/c there was a lot of static in the line. I remember a time when a phone call like that would have been a treasured moment and everyone would have clamored around the phone no matter how bad the reception (like when my oldest sister moved from SC to Syracuse, NY in 1980.) Everyone would have wanted to talk, and every word would have been treasured and relived all throughout the evening with any friends or relatives who came over or called after the precious call ended. But not tonight. My husband just told son #1 that we’d have to call back later and try to catch up with him b/c of poor reception. And my son accepted that and ended the call.
My husband, who is currently a high school administrator, used to coach–just about every high school sport possible. Except when my Dad was in the navy and we lived in Waukegan, IL until I was six, I have lived in SC. When I married, I followed my coaching husband to many places in this state, including Orangeburg, Aiken, Chester, and Rock Hill. My two sons were born in Orangeburg, but most of their elementary experience took place in Aiken. Here is where this gets weird. Both of my sons still have close friends from Aiken. How, when I can barely remember the names of the folks I graduated with from high school, can they still have great buddies from elementary school? It’s easy. It’s a different world. My guys, b/c their parents are educators and early adopters of home computers, video games, cell phones, and web 2.0 tools, have been raised in a home where these tools have been used, some on a daily basis. With every move we ever made, they kept their network of freinds right in their pockets in their phones and in the buddy list on the computer(s) at home. So it has been easy for them to remain as close to their old friends as their new friends. After supper as we were driving home, we called son #1 back, and had a very positive discussion. He had news–he had acquired three roommates for his two bedroom apartment, and some money would be deposited in his bank account (their rent) Tuesday morning. Yeah! Oh, and for us not to be surprised at the $75 cab ride–he went to a concert w/ some friends, and the driver’s car broke down, they missed the last train back into the city, and so they took a cab back to school, and he paid (but everyone was paying him back.)
But as I sit here and reflect, I realize that my friends are making me fairly global too. I still have contact with my principal I had in Aiken, which was 7 years ago. I am close friends with an intern I had in Aiken too, and we room together every year for NECC. We commune via email, chat, and even Skype. I have developed friendships with people I had absolutely never met in person before from networking in web 2.0 portals, like blogs, wikis, Nings, Second Life, educational chat rooms and more.
Some of my network, like Kim I. in Georgia, Kitty F. in AL, Lisa D. in Md, Melinda M. in Missouri, and even Joyce V in PA, I feel would gladly help if I made inquiries for assistance. I’ll never forget Joyce V. walking up to me at NECC in Atlanta, calling me by name, and saying I looked just like my avatar picture on my blog. We had never met face to face in person before, even though we had been at many conferences together. But the tools have changed and made it possible to know people that you have never met! It’s exciting.
Even my 73 year old mother uses Skype, and gets really mad if I or any of my brothers and sisters call her on a landline phone.
So yes, it’s a very different world we live in today. It’s no wonder my children love to listen to us reminisce about times long gone and people we used to know. I have to wonder if they will ever experience memories of long gone friends like we did tonight. It was a fun evening, but I worry about what exchanges they will share with their children when they are grown…b/c it’s a really different world now. And exciting.
“Welcome to South Carolina.” Jimmywayne22’s Photostream. 2 July 1998. 1 September 2007 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/95826233/>.