Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Global village

It happens to just about everyone growing up - you make a friend and then the friend's family moves away. Or you move away. It happened to me in the summer of 1973, when my parents bought a new home across town. I could still visit with my friends from the old neighborhood, but it didn't happen very often. The two years after the move were often lonely, as I struggled to make new friends, at least one of whom is now well known within the Wisconsin law enforcement community. But you survive.

I'm thinking about this today because my daughter Maria has learned that one of her best friends will be moving next month. The difference for Maria is that her friend is not moving across town; she is moving to China. Maria's friend is actually of Japanese ancestry and her father, who is apparently a computer expert, will be moving to the Far East in the next month. Not surprisingly, Maria is quite saddened by this turn of events. It's tough to lose one of your best friends at an early age, especially since there's an excellent chance that Maria won't get to see her friend again.

But the irony of it is this - the world that Maria and her brother Ben are growing up in is paradoxically larger and smaller than the insular world I grew up in back in lovely Appleton, Wisconsin. Maria may not see her friend again, but she will have myriad opportunities to communicate with her friend, via e-mail, blog, webcam and other methods that are still on the drawing boards out in Silicon Valley. You can maintain friendships now without having to maintain proximity. While it doesn't lessen the sadness my daughter now feels about her friend moving away, it's still an amazing thing. We've seen amazing changes since that summer of 1973, when the only Americans who were going over to China seemed to be ping pong players and Richard Nixon. I marvel at the distance of those 34 years, even though I can still hear the soundtrack of that summer in my head quite clearly. Perhaps it's because you still hear all the songs on KQRS. Smoke on the water, the fire in the sky....

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

And, of course, the famous ... Jeremiah was a bull frong ...

Great memories from the early 1970s growing up in inner-city Appleton.

I smile at the thought of playing ABA basketball with Mark at the lone-gone Jackson School. I, of course, was Rick Barry. Mark, of course, was none other than ... the Whopper (Billy Pautz).

We won't even mention the Hinder Club. -- You Know Who

Anonymous said...

Oops ... Jeremiah was a bullfrog ...

Anonymous said...

Mr Dilletante should come clean. He claims he missed his friends, but in reality he missed Old John at the corner and Grandma Cank, Doc Helmrath, Rick Crawford, and Michelle Mader. The music he misses isn't Deep Purple, it's the Carpenters. I won't even get in to Fred Wagner.....

Mark said...

Yep, I sure do remember the ABA ball at Jackson School. That was the best because we always the court to ourselves and would be out there for hours. That was a great summer, indeed.

As for the second anonymous, of course you're right. Who doesn't miss Grandma Cank?