Opinion

Hodge: Valued friendships renewed by Facebook connections

The wonder of it all—when it comes to modern technology, ‘Constant change is here to stay.’

I marvel at many of the inventions and changes in our society since my birth just 58 years ago.

I was six when a television first appeared in my home. It was a bulky beast with one or two channels in black and white.

Since then TV has evolved to colour, cable, digital, flat screens…heck, I can even watch TV on my telephone.

Speaking of technological changes—long gone is the wall phone or the rotary dial with only four numbers to remember.

Now I carry around a mini-computer called a smart-phone, which is indeed smarter than I.

Ah, yes, the computer, one of the most amazing inventions the past half-century.

When I began newspaper work in the early 1970s we had a copy boy, red ink pens  and Remington manual typewriters.

We thought we’d hit the big time when ‘white-out’ and then electric typewriters arrived. Wow!

My first computer was a best called an MDT and it was the size of a large wall unit, complete with discs the size of 78 records.

When I powered it up it would hum and shake like an airplane taking off.

Today, I work from my home (as well as pay bills, order products, set up meetings, bank,) all from my laptop or telephone.

However, for me the most recent pleasant evolution has been Facebook.

Like many of you I have met a bundle of new and interesting folks online, through email, and on Facebook.

Even better, I have managed to reconnect with some long lost friendships and school mates.

Without Facebook, I doubt I would have reconnected with two of my dearest long-time buddies from youth—Jim Melville and Dan Thiessen.

Danny and I started chumming around together in Grade 5 and remained close until around age 17 or 18.

During those years of companionship we pretty much went through everything two young lads can experience in life.

In the big picture, we lived during ideal times. Life was pretty simple then, and growing up in the Okanagan Valley was about as wonderful as it gets.

Our major bond was hockey—whether on the ice, road, or even a table-hockey set we literally absorbed the game.

For more than three seasons we were involved full time with the Kelowna Buckaroos. I as a stick boy and trainer Danny as a statistician.

Jim Melville lived less than a block away and we hung out regularly between ages 15 and 20.

James and I shared many wonderful times and crazy times, which frankly we were lucky to survive.

Once again hockey was a big draw, but girls were even more interesting as was all the other good (and not so good) temptations and trials of teenage life.

As often happens with childhood friends, years drifted by and communication faded away until I had completely lost track of both old friends.

With the exception of a once in a blue moon mention by other former friends, or school reunions, I had no idea where they were or what they were up to.

Until Facebook.

Jim was the first to contact me three years ago, tracking me down online sending an unexpected message one day. I was thrilled and we struck up regular conversations from then on. Two years ago Jim visited Kelowna on a quick holiday and we spent three hours together laughing and reminiscing with total ease. If not for Facebook that reunion would never have happened.

With Danny the reconnection was even more of an impact.

Dan discovered me on Facebook while he was living in the southern United States. We kept in touch for almost a year online before he finally relocated back to Kelowna.

I like to think part of the reason he returned to town was because we had reconnected.

Since then, Danny and I have been blessed to share many hours together and with luck I anticipate many more fun times ahead.

We have yet to dig out the old hockey set but I know I can still kick his butt. (The gloves are off now, lol).

There is some appropriate irony to all of this, I suppose.

As a writer, I had to learn to adapt to the new media technology or die.

While some might suggest I have not adapted that well, I suppose I have maintained well enough to survive and enjoy the rewards of it all.

It is difficult to even comprehend my world as a writer without use of the Internet. However, more than the convenience of never having to leave home to write a column or book—modern technology such as email and Facebook have impacted my world in a positive way.

Two dear friends are back in my world on a regular basis. Valued friendships have been renewed and not only old memories recalled, but new ones formed.

Thankfully, constant change truly is here to stay.

 

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