~~A very important part of life for a seafaring family is communication, whether it is talking to each other, through email or phone calls. When my husband was at sea, we didn’t have access to email and phone calls were via satellite and only used on special occasions. We did use mobiles but that became so expensive (some months our bill was hundreds of pounds, and when you hear their voice you don’t think of how much it is costing) Now that wasn’t in the dark ages but communications have came a long way with nearly everyone having a Smartphone, I pad etc so people are more or less used to instant contact.
Reverting back to pre – instant communication, I loved my letters and there was something magical about getting a bunch of letters at the one time. My husband numbered the back of the envelopes so I would know in what order to read them, and I kept all his letters until he arrived home on leave. When our children came along they too got their postcards and letters. Depending on where the ship was going sometimes you could have four to six weeks between letters. That’s when you re read the previous ones time and time again. We did have a lovely collection of stamps and our geography did improve! My husbands’ trips were usually for six months and if the ship was on a set run I had the proposed dates and agents addresses of where to send his mail. This is when the numbered letters were practical – sometimes the mail would miss him and poor soul had to hope that the agent would forward it to the next port. Not all countries had an efficient postal service! My husband changed shipping companies and although his trips weren’t much shorter – this time his mail went via the office in Southampton and they forwarded it with the company’s mail. When we were able to email (via the ship) I felt as if we had lost some of the intimacy that you get in letters. Oh you could still say how much you loved and missed them and give them all the family news but the very personal stuff you didn’t express.
Now with younger seafaring families they (not all) can have access to Skype, email and phone calls and does it make life any easier? Sometimes you can get frustrated with poor connections, or feel as if they have sounded uninterested in your conversation, get annoyed if they seem to be enjoying themselves too much! A very positive side I have seen is that when my son in law was working in India for a month, my grandchildren spoke to him via Skype every evening, and although they missed him greatly, they coped very well and he still felt involved in their everyday life.
So you see no matter which method is available to you, keep communicating and remember to say how much you love and miss them.