There was a time when people smiled, said hello in Kelowna

Surprise: That better time was not so long ago on the streets Kelowna.

To the editor:

I remember a time when I used to walk down the street in my town where I would say good morning to everyone I passed.  And they would reply with a cheery smile and say hello.

The ones who didn’t respond you would have thought were a little off or a little grouchy that day.  Horns beeped to say hello and a hand out the window was to wave and acknowledge a neighbour.

We had community potluck suppers and dances for families—without alcohol. No, we didn’t have a wine country back then, but we had neighbours.

If someone fell ill, had a baby or moved, there was help from all. It’s funny how we knew about everybody’s lives without iPods, emails or iPhones.

We all worked hard, but every night we sat down at the kitchen table and had a family dinner. It was the best time of the day. We all would talk and joke, and my dad would tease us and my mother.

No, we didn’t have an extra dining room just for a special occasion, or an extra living room that no one could sit in. There were no empty bedrooms waiting for guests that would never come. But we had love. It was a better time.

It was a time when the girl next door became your wife. You loved each other, had children and grandchildren till death due us part.

Now the girl next door is on a dating website. She is whatever you want her to be, or so she says. The family dinner is eaten with everyone in separate rooms accompanied by different gadgets to occupy your attention.

And to top it all off, more than 50 per cent of kids are in different homes, me raising your kids and you raising my kids.

Oh yes, this year the government declared a new holiday deemed Family Day. Now we can’t help but remember our family at least one day out of the year.

Today, if I walk down the street, I am the crazy one. Someone blowing their car horn means get out of the way. If see a hand stuck out—that’s even worse, we all know what that means.

The family unit is gone. Our neighbours are nothing more than people to be avoided at all costs, possibly dangerous and worse yet, meddlers.

We get sick alone, we die alone and have joy alone—but we still have our iPhone.

Good-bye to a better time, an extinct era never to return. By the way, I’m only 50 years old.

Ann-Marie Jackson,

Kelowna