I can’t imagine what my parents would have thought about Face Book and the “posts”. Well, to begin with, my father would not have contributed. He was the man to go to when the black and white televisions gave “up the ghost” and off he went with his carry case of replacement tubes. But computers? I don’t think he would have cottened to them..I know he would not have used social media whatsoever. He loved to talk too much and was pretty much a story teller…true and greatly embellished at times.
He suffered casualties, of course. One tale led to his companion biting off a bit of my father’s ear..it was such an example of insufferable embellishment that the man simply lost his mind temporarily and sunk his teeth into my father’s ear..not in private, mind you, in the mill yard in full view of passengers on a passing train.
My mother, on the other hand, was pretty much the opposite. She “ran” the Popular Club Plan where her mill friends paid a dollar or two a week, depending on how many “turns” each wanted and when all were paid up, she made out her reward order. She “earned” towels, sheets and occasionally even a dress for herself. At home, she let Dad do most of the talking while she went about her business.
We ate our suppers as a family around the little kitchen table most week nights. Dad and Ma were both tired from work; we kids were tired from school and the after school chores. There was little small talk and concentration was on the food. However, there was one night that burns still in my brain after all these years.
We were all eating, when suddenly my father put his fork down and looked at us. This was so out of character that forks were poised halfway in mid-air and all eyes turned his way. If it were low keyed before, it was deadly silent at this point.
“Which one of you kids told that I shot a deer?” Talk about a thundering silence. Yes, he had shot a deer out of season, but it was because we needed the meat. It was a silent rule that you said nothing because it meant food on the table. I knew I hadn’t. My younger brother probably had no idea when deer season was legal at that point. My oldest brother! I remember staring at him. He was the last person on earth who would say a word! But he owned it. He admitted he had told his best friend and of course the best friend was sworn to secrecy, but told his father, who went the mill and teased my father about it. This was the worse crime we could commit.
“I didn’t think he would tell,” and with that my oldest brother left the table. In this day and age that would be called “unfriending.” There was no social media back in the late 40’s. It was a searing hurt that his best friend betrayed him and he had, in turn, betrayed his father’s trust. There was no faceless confrontation where he could tell his friend in a written post how much he hurt. My brother could not write my father, but instead had to look him in the face and admit his wrong doing.
Anyone who lived during that time period probably knew that deer were shot when meat was needed and the game warden feared more than a State trooper. My father had one fast rule that no matter how much meat was needed, he would never shoot a doe at the time of year of births.
We didn’t have a phone nor electricity, so our social life was centered around work, school and the neighborhood. Perhaps sometimes not knowing the news was better. Once my Dad brought the DuMont black and white television into the living room, our world expanded somewhat. Well, it expanded when he went to the back yard and twisted the antenna in the right direction to get the news channel he wanted. That was probably the only exercise program my father ever engaged in during his lifetime. Running to and from the back yard antenna was quite the work out.
We never dreamed there would come a day when one could view a picture of someone’s lunch or read what was being prepared for a meal. I don’t think we would have cared. Life was so simple and the every day problems seemed to iron themselves out without too much fuss. My father didn’t need social media to have friends; he collected them like dogs collect fleas. My mother had a few special friends but, in contrast to Dad, was on the quiet side.
Life as we knew it then would seem boring to most today. I embrace technology to a point. I like that I am able to sit and write my thoughts when the urge hits me. I like that I can store it and go back and read it again and again without having reams of paper surrounding me. I like social media in that I can “talk” to my children scattered about and dear members of the family.
I think many people have become more outspoken to the point where meanness exists because it IS a faceless conversation. Sometimes we forget that words can wound; we should ask ourselves..if we were talking face to face with that person, would we say what we are typing? But, then again, this is a whole new world I live in now. It is a marvelous world of technology.
I still wonder what my brother would have written to his friend about the betrayal. Instead he faced him the next day with the hurt on his face. Somehow, I find that much more effective. I kind of like that way of “un-friending” a person. Out in the open…emotions bared.