Loose Ends: Keeping up with town news

These days it is not the post office door’s memorial cards that catch you off-guard, it is the casual mention of something on Facebook. Once you “friend” someone, you can see their daily Facebook correspondence. Glancing at my niece’s entry one afternoon, I was surprised to see the letters R.I.P. next to the name of a friend. The sharp, dry wit of some jokesters celebrating April Fool’s Day or Halloween has diluted the real meaning of “Rest in Peace” so the response, “Did she die?” asked by a confused friend wasn’t surprising.
Communicating on a social network is definitely a generational thing, but the ease and efficiency of keeping up with friends and relatives has won over many previous non-Facebook users. The positive thing about all the social communication sites are that has made it possible for people who live far away from each other to keep in touch. While the boring details of daily life can be overwhelming, it is the mention of births, deaths, weddings, divorces and accidents that make one realize that while they may live far away, their hearts stay home.
The memorial cards on the post office door still serve their original purpose, as it is the first place residents go to find out if the word on the street is true. One glance at the post office door can turn a sunny day dark. Memorial Facebook pages sprout up quickly, adding to the tradition of honoring the person who has passed and offering mourners a way to share a story or two and keep memories alive.
Listening to many of our old-timers’ stories about this valley before the days of radio, television and the Internet, one is struck by the mention of the “party line” phone system and its unexpected role as the “town-crier” or town gossip. More than one or two residents recalled listening in on some interesting phone calls and justified yielding to that temptation because as a child “no one would tell you anything.”
These days all a kid has to do to become more “in the know” is use the Internet to find out a bit more about the event in question. The word on the street was often overheard downtown. Ten o’clock was the time, in front of the post office was the place, to find out what had happened in the past 24 hours.
Now a phone call home from a concerned friend or relative is often preceded by the explanation, “Someone on Facebook said …” Children in this small town quickly learn the power of those innocuous words “somebody said” even if the information isn’t entirely accurate. Yet, in the case of communicating news of importance on such a site, the old “somebody said” comes in handy.

T  hese days it is not the post office door’s memorial cards that catch you off-guard, it is the casual mention of something on Facebook. Once you “friend” someone, you can see their daily Facebook correspondence. Glancing at my niece’s entry one afternoon, I was surprised to see the letters R.I.P. next to the name of a friend. The sharp, dry wit of some jokesters celebrating April Fool’s Day or Halloween has diluted the real meaning of “Rest in Peace” so the response, “Did she die?” asked by a confused friend wasn’t surprising.Communicating on a social network is definitely a generational thing, but the ease and efficiency of keeping up with friends and relatives has won over many previous non-Facebook users. The positive thing about all the social communication sites are that has made it possible for people who live far away from each other to keep in touch. While the boring details of daily life can be overwhelming, it is the mention of births, deaths, weddings, divorces and accidents that make one realize that while they may live far away, their hearts stay home. The memorial cards on the post office door still serve their original purpose, as it is the first place residents go to find out if the word on the street is true. One glance at the post office door can turn a sunny day dark. Memorial Facebook pages sprout up quickly, adding to the tradition of honoring the person who has passed and offering mourners a way to share a story or two and keep memories alive.Listening to many of our old-timers’ stories about this valley before the days of radio, television and the Internet, one is struck by the mention of the “party line” phone system and its unexpected role as the “town-crier” or town gossip. More than one or two residents recalled listening in on some interesting phone calls and justified yielding to that temptation because as a child “no one would tell you anything.”These days all a kid has to do to become more “in the know” is use the Internet to find out a bit more about the event in question. The word on the street was often overheard downtown. Ten o’clock was the time, in front of the post office was the place, to find out what had happened in the past 24 hours. Now a phone call home from a concerned friend or relative is often preceded by the explanation, “Someone on Facebook said …” Children in this small town quickly learn the power of those innocuous words “somebody said” even if the information isn’t entirely accurate. Yet, in the case of communicating news of importance on such a site, the old “somebody said” comes in handy.