Using Skype Has Changed Our World
My cell phone bleeps. It is a message from my son, a U.S. Marine, halfway around the world "Can you get on Skype?" I roll over and hit the floor running. I grab my laptop computer, charger, cell phone for the modem and start slapping on make-up while it boots and loads the program. I am going to get to see my son's face for a few minutes! My heart leaps! What a great way to wake up and start the day! It is amazing how using Skype has changed our world!
Just Like The Jetsons
Not so long ago, I watched cartoons called The Jetsons. I was always amazed at the phone system that they had where George Jetson, the father, could talk to his boss from home on a television-like screen. It was so amazing! It was like a picture frame with real people talking in it! No way that could ever happen!
Sitting here talking to my son, I think back on that cartoon and smile. He asks me, "What's so funny?" I tell him I am thinking how amazing that I can be just like George Jetson talking on the flat screen of my laptop with him clear around the world. Of course, George had better reception that we did! Several times we resort to typing our words, but seeing his smiling face is priceless. He is a few pounds lighter than our last Skype session and a little more tan. He is sporting a new haircut as well. He is off the ship for a short time and I know he has spiffed up to Skype with his new bride. It has been hard for them to have this long separation only weeks after their impromptu elopement, but each time they get to see each other's face they grow a bit stronger for a little longer.
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Looking back at our communication systems over the years, my heart goes out to those military families of old. They did not have the comfort and reassurance that our technology today offers. My grandparents had a sons who served in World War II and the Korean War. One call or two was a rare gift to receive and that was after they had telephones in the home. Their communication with my uncles revolved around letters which were sometimes more cut up from censoring than they were informative. It was unusual to know where they were and what they were doing. It was merely a reaffirmation that they were still alive on the day that letter was written. The letters may have taken months to arrive. How hard that must have been. I am ashamed sometimes by my loneliness and fears for my son. My grandmothers worked hard for their faith to hold on until their sons returned.
Years later, there were the Uncles and Aunts who had sons who served in the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. They did have the opportunity to get a telephone call a time or two during their sons' deployments and service, but it still was a rare thing to receive. They got postcards and letters with more frequency and with a lot less censorship, and sometimes a snapshot was included. The joy of getting to see their son alive and looking on his face made the time apart a little less stressful. Still yet they too had to rely on the faith that their son would one day return.
Communication Today and Tomorrow
Today, many things have changed. Postcards, boxes, and letters still take almost a month to get to and from a ship overseas, but a phone call or text message is at our fingertips. If our service member has computer access, it is easy to get a text message to home via several websites who offer free text messages such as www.uscellular.com . It is also not uncommon for a service member to be able to place calls from the phones on base or on a ship using a phone calling card which allows them to call parents and sweeties at work, home or on their cell phone. What a blessing this is to be able to receive a text or hear their voice on a regular basis! I am blessed with just this advantage, but to look into his eyes and see his smile in live time (well maybe a few seconds delay) makes it all seem more manageable. It isn't often that he is in a location where the Internet access is strong enough to allow for the Skype to work, but each moment counts. Last deployment, he Skyped his little neice, Lyndsy, while she was as preschool and sang, "Happy Birthday" to her. She was thrilled! She turned to her classmate and said, "Its Uncle Dustin, calling me for my birthday from Japan." It was all very matter of fact and so precious!
Today, I can smile and chat with him as if he were here at the breakfast table with me. It is almost as if we can reach out and touch. Maybe that is the next step in technology, 3 D AND sensory. Until then I will soak up his smile and fill him up with mine. I will treasure hearing his love and seeing it on his face. Thank you, George Jetson and Skype....you are our heroes!
Using Skype has changed our world and you can learn more about Skype at www.skype.com/en - it may change yours too!
Photo and Text Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey
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