Cell phones, Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Search, Snapchat, and streaming services – all of these are ways of communicating that are widely available to the everyday person in 2019. Heck, Kevin and I even “unplugged” from cable TV two years ago and we no longer have a landline phone. Communicating is so easy these days-almost too easy. It is way too easy to go on a rant on Social Media. We now have to worry about “cyber” bullies along with “In real life” (IRL) bullies. I belong to a Facebook book club and an IRL book club. I have Facebook friends that have known me since I was 5 years old. I have an Instagram account for my dogs. I have THIS blog, all because of the Internet and social media.
I know that social media has taken a beating recently and much of it is warranted. People spend too much time on their Smart Phones, myself included. I play way too many games on my phone and spend hours a week in “cyber world”. In this installment of my blog, I would like to take you back, however, to how things used to be; before all these ways of communication were open to us. Let’s say, back to December 1984, when Kevin and I moved to Hickory, NC.
In 1984, there were no “cell phones”. There were satellite phones and a few car phones. Everyone used landlines and pay phones were everywhere. Computers were used as operating systems for businesses, but there was no “Internet”. You had three ways to communicate with another person- by landline telephone, writing a letter or actually in person. Yep, that was it. There was good and bad with this limited ways of communicating. You could be off the grid and no one could find you (this came in handy as a teenager). You could keep information about yourself confidential because everyone couldn’t “Google” you and look at your Facebook page. You could keep your life private if you wanted to and no one asked you why you weren’t on social media.
The down sides were many, however, we didn’t realize it at the time. When Kevin and I moved to North Carolina, we left the first week of December. The weather was unpredictable. We had to drive both of our cars. Mine was not in good shape and Kevin had his fish (yes, fish) in a homemade mobile aquarium. It was a 10-hour drive that took more like 13. We were fine until we got to the mountains between the Tennessee line and Asheville. There are many bridges and switchbacks in these mountains. It was dark and raining and all at once there was a sign flashing “ice on bridge”. To say I freaked out would be an understatement. The ONLY thing that got be through it is that Kevin is a Ham radio operator and he let me bootleg on the radio. He talked me down. He guided my driving and calmed my fears. The only way I got off that mountain was through his love and support through communication we take for granted through cell phones now. I was completely ALONE in that car and his voice through his radio got me through.
Imagine your 23-year-old daughter moving to North Carolina in a beat up car with a guy she had only known a year. Also imagine that it is 1984 and there is no way to talk with her on the long car drive-the longest distance she has ever driven. THAT is what I put my parents through. They didn’t know how dangerous our drive was or if we even made it until the next day! I honestly don’t remember the phone conversation I had with them the next day, but I am sure they had no idea how scary it really was.
Living close to a thousand miles from the only home you have ever known is tough. It was even tougher in 1984. Remember, the only ways to communicate are landline, letter or in person. AND, the phone company charged you for long distance. So, I couldn’t just pick up the phone and call my friends and family and talk for hours on end. I had to wait days between conversations so I didn’t bankrupt us with the phone bill. It was hard, but it made me stronger. It made me grow up. It made me rely on myself and brought Kevin and I closer.
We lived in North Carolina for three and a half years and during that period we got married, in Fort Wayne, Indiana; while living in North Carolina. Remember, the only ways to communicate are by landline, letter or in person. It took two years to plan the wedding, but we did it! And it was perfect! We went to Kiawah Island for our honeymoon and we only had literature and information through the mail and travel agencies to rely on to pick our resort. We bought a house and had to rely on the information our realtor gave us to make our offer. We took many road trips back and forth to Indiana in those three and a half years without the benefit of GPS, cell phones or Google.
When we decided we wanted to move back to Indiana, Kevin applied to Eli Lilly through an ad in a trade magazine. He had his resume professionally printed and applied through the MAIL. When we moved back, we spent a weekend looking at apartments in Indianapolis with a real estate specialist from Lilly. We had no idea where the best place to live was in Indy-we knew nothing really about Indy. We found our way around Indy the same way we did Hickory, NC, through word of mouth and recommendations from friends. The year was 1988 and still only three ways to communicate. But, the future was about to change-would it be for the better?? Coming soon in Part Two of Communication…until then