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Cimino: Embracing our technological advances

I've been thinking about ... having a foot in two worlds.

My birthday, last Thursday, has got me thinking. I had a wonderful day. Joe took me to dinner and gave me a pretty piece of jewelry, his go-to gift. No complaints from me on that score. I got over 100 Facebook Happy Birthday greetings starting at 8 a.m. from my son Tom and continuing until about 10:30 that evening. I heard from my children and grandchildren, my brother and his wife, cousins on both sides of the family, one cousin I haven't seen since she was a little girl, Joe's cousins in Florida and Carroll County, theater friends I haven't seen in years and many people I have worked with and know from my daily work here in Westminster. There was even a message from a friend in Estonia.

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At first I was amused but I soon became a little overwhelmed by the reach of the technology involved. I remember a time when people bought a birthday card, wrote a message on it and sent it through the mail. That took time and effort but look what can be done today. Facebook tells your friends that it's your birthday and within seconds they can send best wishes to remind you that you are remembered. It's quick but in this fast-paced world, I'll take it.

I'm not afraid of technology, I have a healthy respect for it and am quite comfortable, to a point, using it in my work. But it doesn't come naturally to me because I have always been aware that I have a foot in two worlds. As a child born during World War II, with the experiences I will soon tell you about, I can't help think about the differences and the impact of those differences on the children of those two different times.

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I was born in 1943 during World War II. At that time, I guess, the concept of "a tour of duty" either didn't exist or it was put on hold because everyone was in "for the duration." My father spent 3 1/2 years in the Army, mostly in the Philippines. So, that means I was born during the war and not after it, which means I am not a Baby Boomer. That would be my sister, who was born in 1946. She's the Boomer. I don't know what the word is for me.

I don't remember much of the war, I was very young but I do remember at least, talk of rationing, rubber drives, metal drives and war bonds, not to mention the scarcity of ladies stockings, all to support the war effort. I don't remember the day but I do remember the story of the day my father came home. He came into Burlington, Vermont, by train from wherever he was mustered out of the Army and someone got a phone call. The story goes that my mother got the message and put me in my carriage and walked to the train station. No one in the family had a car at that time but the train station wasn't too far and so we went to meet him.

Now think about that. My dad traveled from the Philippines by ship, most likely to California. It must have taken weeks. He most likely traveled by train to the East Coast and then North to Vermont. There wasn't a plane transport from there to Vermont as there would be today. There was long distance phone service but that was still rare. But today servicemen and women can talk to their families daily, actually see their children on video cam and be home within hours. I, for one, am happy that technology has changed the way we live, travel and communicate.

Audrey Cimino is executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. She writes from Westminster.

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