The electronic ties that bind as we huddle together in the Global Village create bonds that are in their way just as real as the roots they are now replacing. It's become a truism that no one stays in the same place anymore, and yet most of us not only know people for whom that is NOT true, we are, ourselves, those people.
A few years ago, two reporters, Brian W and Dorothy S, for the at-the-time-Gannett-owned newspaper, the Norwich Bulletin, met, became engaged and were married while on the staff of the newspaper. As a matter of fact, for a period of time leading up to the nuptials, there was a regular feature in their paper (they alternated writing it, as I recall), "Hitched", that was quite fine and fun to read, especially for those of us who saw ourselves as 'old, married couples.' (I'll leave you to guess which part of that I saw myself as).
The focus of their column changed, shifted actually, after the wedding and it remained a popular feature across the paper's readership as both Brian and Dorothy, via the column, shared breakfast in most homes twice a week as they tried out the different people we, as readers, knew they would need to become as a successful married couple.
In many ways, they were Tweeners-not brothers or sisters or nieces and nephews, no blood relatives at all-nor were they the folks in the Sunday color section, be it called "Home" or "Social" with the stilted photo from the church wedding of the pair (and you sit at the kitchen table trying to figure out how they ended up together) that reported "...and Mr and Mrs. Glockenspiel, of the Hamptons' Glockenspiels, will honeymoon in Ibiza with a Runcible Spoon.." or some such stuff. We, the readers, felt we knew Dorothy and Brian, because in a way, we did.
It wasn't cause and effect, but only a short amount of time had passed after their wedding when both of them accepted positions with another newspaper, I always thought it was part of the same chain, in the Mid-west (I say that like I know what what means; I don't have a clue) somewhere in Indiana I believe and they moved away and, seemingly, thus endeth the lesson.
Except, with the technological tools of the Brave New World, like Facebook and Twitter and Lord-Knows-What-Else, many of us have managed to pick up the threads of Dangling Conversations and putting aside the time that has passed, it's yesterday once more. Or less. When we reconnected in cyberspace, courtesy of Facebook, Dorothy was great with child (their first) and Brian was working through a lot of the issues that prospective Dads everywhere knew he would have to master (and are confident that he will.
It's been fun and familiar in a way these past few months, watching from a distance, as people I sort of once knew (but didn't really when you get down to it ) are on their way to becoming, in essence, other and completely different people that not even they know, as they join a new club, "Parents". And Monday, while all of our lives were going in whatever directions they were going, a daughter, Eleanor Ann, arrived and both Dorothy and Brian posted their thoughts and her pictures to their wall (I think that's the term) on Facebook and all manner of friends and acquaintances (I'm very much in the latter category) offered their toasts, and congratulations.
I keep returning to a vintage Peter Townsend song for an overlooked and underheard Who album, with questions that both Dorothy and Brian will ask one another if they haven't already and whose answers are ever and never changing. "Where do you walk on sunny times? When the rivers gleam and the buildings shine. How do you feel goin' up hallowed halls? And the summer clothes brighten gloomy halls?" Welcome to Earth, Ellie. Stay close to your Mom and Dad. Sometimes it's a dark ride.