A couple of generations ago, overseas travel for pleasure was only for the rich.  Even business travel was uncommon, unless one was a missionary or in the military.  Today we visit our family in Switzerland more frequently, with less effort, and possibly even with less relative expense than my family travelled from New York to Florida to visit my grandparents when I was young.

Telephone service was once so expensive that long distance calls (remember long distance?) had to be kept brief—as in just a few minutes.  Overseas calls were out of the question most of the time.  Today our grandchildren have long conversations with us on the phone, and we can call Switzerland at six cents a minute.  Skype costs even less (less as in free); the quality may not be as good as I'd like, but it allows us to see each other.  The long-dreamed-of video phone is here!

You think sending a letter via the Post Office is snail mail?  Letters used to travel by truck, not airplane, and on slow roads at that.  Overseas mail went by boat and could take months to reach its destination.  Imagine seeing your spouse, parents, children, grandchildren, siblings, or friends go off as soldiers or missionaries to the other side of the world and having to wait weeks before knowing they arrived safely.  Now mail flies and e-mail is nearly instantaneous.

When I was in college, communication was by mostly by letter, and that not very often.  It wasn’t expensive, but you know how college students are about writing.  Perhaps I would have written more had I not been blessed with parents who didn’t mind footing the substantial bill for weekly phone calls; most of my friends did not have that privilege.  But with today’s instant, varied, and frequent communication—phone, e-mail, SMS, Facebook, blogs—the sudden and unnatural break from loved ones can be a thing of the past.

If one has far-flung family and friends, this is a good time to be living.   Do I wish our grandchildren lived where they could walk to Grandma’s house for breakfast?  You bet!  But with today’s easier and less expensive travel and communication choices, we’re a lot better off than my own grandparents were.  So I’m thankful!

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 6:37 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 847 times
Category Children & Family Issues: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] The Good New Days: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Add comment

(Comments may be delayed by moderation.)