A Time of Change
Today, being the 23rd of September, is the Autumn Equinox and a time of change between the seasons. Certainly the leaves have turned into all their Autumnal glory before disappearing for the winter.
And the fruits have ripened ready either to be picked for eating or to fall to the ground.
The change into Autumn seems to be the greatest change of all – the other seasons seem to merge from one to the other less suddenly.
I’ve always thought there is something rather melancholy about the Fall – as the Americans would have it – and it started me thinking about the subject of ‘change’ and reflecting on how much had actually changed over the eight decades of my life.
My childhood was so very different to that of my grandchildren. Take entertainment for instance. Only a few households had a black and white television – and in our house the programmes were strictly supervised. A visit to the cinema was a huge treat and reserved for special occasions. We had a gramophone with a few discs played very carefully because they broke so easily. It was a great luxury when vinyl came in. Then video’s arrived and cassettes and nowadays there is access to all forms of entertainment and made so easily.
Perhaps the greatest change over the years has been in communication. When I was young the telephone was used very sparingly, telegrams were sent only in the case of emergency or on a special occasion such as births and marriages. (I do miss the ‘first night telegrams’ that would decorate the dressing room in the theatre – no real substitute for that.)
I look back with horror over the stress caused by lack of communication when my children were in their teenage years. Once they were out – all control was gone. There were no mobiles and telephone boxes were only used as a last resort. If there was a crisis they either found a taxi or if really desperate there’d be a call to parents in the small hours. Now it is a quick text to say all is well and they’re calling an Uber!
The advance in technology has taken some getting used to. I grappled with the early computers – mainly for the ‘word processor’. Then suddenly we were in the world of the Web. No longer was there any need for the Oxford dictionary or encylopedia – now it is quick and easy to hop onto google and find out anything you want to know.
I am getting used to Skype, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, etc. I am also getting used to seeing the grandchildren with their heads down, fixed on their mobile screens and texting like mad (although I do forbid the use of mobiles during a meal!) And I am not as obsessed by the latest model of phone as they are. I am just relieved if mine works.
My one sadness, while endeavouring to keep up with all the technical advances, is the disappearance of the letter. I used to take great pleasure in picking up my pen and writing all the news to a friend or relation. Now this is done no more and as my hands have become arthritic, I too have resorted to emails and texts. But sometimes I get out my collection of letters from old friends and marvel at how wonderfully written they were and what joy it was to receive them. It is why I spend a lot of time reading the correspondence of famous people, my favourite being that between Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford.
So here is my blog – just to prove I haven’t been completely left behind in the age of technical advance!