I hanker after the old days when several blue airmail letters, all at once but numbered so I could read them in order, would drop through the letterbox. The odd phone call usually about half way through his six month trip, stomach doing flips every time the phone rang – especially near the end of the trip when that call might bring details of flights and being reunited.
Sometimes the company personnel department would call to ask how things were … and give homecoming details. It all made you feel part of it. Nowadays there's no connection with the company and mostly we converse by emails and messenger services. And of course broadband on ships is pretty much like broadband on land … Sometimes it's not reliable and sometimes the sailor is busy working and forgets that his partner is home just waiting for an acknowledgement! Just a word …
Instant contact is not always a good thing and we at Watch Ashore have talked about this a lot recently. We have members ranging from 20 to nearly 100 … Some have never experienced the immediacy of modern communication with sailors and personally, this Sailor's wife thinks it might well add to the angst of a modern day MN WAG. We expect a reply and if we don't get one …. All sorts of thoughts run through your mind. He doesn't love me, he's gone off me, he's found someone else …. All completely irrational! Coupled with the misunderstandings that can arise from only communicating with someone by email … No facial gestures and tone of voice to help with interpretation … And the fact the sailor is in practical work mode when our emails and messages arrive as opposed to taking time out to read our letters in a warm private environment. In the past our sailors would have taken private time to write home and would chose their words carefully and thoughtfully and equally would have looked forward to the mail sack and letters from home . Now things are written in a rush while they're working, while they're in practical work mode! It's not the same and things are lost in translation. Days go by without a word and you don't notice!
This Watch Ashore member has been communicating with her sailor for 29 years now with one foot in the past and one foot in modernity and Yep! I hanker after the old days!