I was cogitating the other day (don't you love words like cogitate?) about how little I see my friends and family these days and realised that, for some reason, it is not only that family members seem so much busier these days, but that the distance between our homes has increased considerably.
When I was young, yes my folks and I lived in various suburbs until they finally settled down for 5 years in a rental home in North Perth and then when I was 20 they built their own home in Joondanna (then called Joondanna Heights).
I married a man who lived with his folks in North Perth as did his grandparents and his aunts and uncles. He and I lived in North Perth as well. Not long after my marriage my own mother also moved into a house in North Perth so we were nearly all within walking distance of each other. It was simple to go for a walk and pop in to say hullo to someone without making it an 'official' visit, perhaps have a cuppa while there or perhaps not. We seldom telephoned each other because our homes were so close together and back then not everyone had a telephone. We certainly didn't have a phone till we had been married about 5 years or more.
Now I live in Hamilton Hill, my daughter and her husband live in Kelmscott as does #2 granddaughter and her daughter, my eldest granddaughter and her family have moved to Settler's Hills and #3 granddaughter and grandson share a unit in Carlisle (both of whom don't drive). My son and his family (whom I no longer have contact with) also live a good 20 minute drive from our home.
Not only are the distances between our homes greater, the traffic is also heavier which means it takes longer to travel those extra kilometres. Most of my close friends have sadly left this mortal coil and those that remain live in Mandurah or way up in Mindarie (all reasonably long trips from Hamilton Hill).
I suppose it is not as bad as families that are in different states, which in our country means many, many kilometres apart but it still does make a big difference altho'. come to think of it, there may be those that are glad the distance between us stops me 'popping in' as one once did. That's a question best not asked (smile).
We all of course have telephones these days (mobiles too of course) but one is reluctant to ring 'cos, as said before, everyone seems to busy these days and the good old chats one once had are a thing of the past. My mum and I would usually have a good long chat every Sunday morning when my hubby was playing golf and I did miss those chats when she died 25 years ago. My first husband's sister lives in Canberra and every few weeks we keep the telephone wires buzzing for up to 2 hours as we talk about all sorts of subjects ranging from family, TV, music right through to politics. I miss that type of chat when one could talk about any subject without fear of arguments developing and one was entitled to one's own opinion and we also respected the opinions of others. Verna is now 87 and I am 78 so I doubt these wonderful conversations will go on for many more years but we can only hope that there will be more opportunities still for us discuss how we would put the world to rights if we were in charge. It all sounds so simple when you talk about it doesn't it?
Probably one of the big differences is that back then not many women worked so were home during the day and more visiting took place also of an evening as well. Dinner would be ready for hubby when he arrived home from work so dishes were cleared away earlier than now and visits could be made or visitors entertained more easily too.
None of the above is meant to sound like a complaint but rather just comparing what once was with what now is. Fifty years has made a big difference and I would think that probably the next fifty years will make even bigger differences one way or another. I won't be here to see what those differences will be but one can't help but wonder.