Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
I was born in a post World War II world, in which mothers stayed home and wore aprons. Fathers left every morning and drove cars to work.
Fans, not air conditioners, made summer’s warmth bearable, owning a phone meant being one of several households on a party line, and credit was the local grocery store owner allowing you to run an account until payday.
Meat was cut by a butcher you greeted by name before he handed you your order carefully wrapped in crisp paper. Bananas were yellow, tomatoes had flavor, and cilantro was unknown throughout most of the U. S.
I remember when our phone number stretched from five digits to ten, and the day we were all herded into the school auditorium to learn about the new kid on the block – the zip code.
During the summer, we stayed up late into the night and watched Sputnik as it passed by overhead.
I’ve lived through the Age of Aquarius, the deaths of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King and Elvis, and now I stand by and watch the dumbing down of America.
My hair has been cut with a ducktail at the back, pulled into a ponytail, and allowed to sway softly somewhere south of my waist.
Hemlines on my skirts have been mini, maxi, and slightly below the knee. Finally, I switched to wearing pants in a desperate effort to build in some wardrobe longevity.
I have printed with a pencil, learned script with a fountain pen, and now rely on a rollerball.
I learned to type on a black Underwood with a cloth ribbon, graduated to an MTST the size of a desk, and the traded up to an MIS that proudly displayed tape flowing around two large wheels encased behind glass.
I spoke DOS, learned Windows, and utilized Google.
Now I know that I have reached that stage where I’m older and more tired than most, but I’m not dead yet, as those of you who have read A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! can attest.
I can still learn. In fact I make it a point to learn several new things every day, at least one of them technical, even though writers by definition are primarily verbal.
No one can say that I haven’t been flexible or willing to embrace change as it has greeted me. For once in my life, though, I find myself overcome by the newest technological breakthrough – social media.
Facebook I can handle, although I don’t see much use for it. Twitter, on the other hand, at first stumped me completely. Thinking she would help me get started, fellow author Beverly J. Crawford bought me what I’m sure is a perfectly well written booklet designed to unveil the mysteries of Twitter to the completely uninitiated.
I admit to being somewhat technically challenged, but with Twitter – no matter what I did – at first I didn’t get it. Partly, I’m convinced because the software behind it all just didn’t like me.
Every morning I would arise determined to maintain a good attitude. Then I would dawdle…
And I would dawdle…
And I would dawdle some more… Putting off the inevitable became a new lifestyle.
Finally, I would settle into a comfortable chair with my laptop and prepare to do battle – an oversized pitcher of espresso by my side providing what I hoped would be a sufficient ongoing supply of Dutch courage.
Taking a deep breath, I would log in and scroll through the verbal noise, looking for a retweet possibility or two. Just when I would find one, the god of Tweet would choose to refresh the system, and the entry that I was eyeing would completely disappear, leaving me to stare at a half-naked photo that some young man, whom I had never met, had chosen to represent himself.
Undaunted, I would search for a nice picture of someone to whom I might reply in an effort to make a connection.
Finally, a smiling face greeted me – the same face over and over, one above the other, in a series of tweets.
The first one quoted Voltaire, and the second contained a familiar verse from the Bible. I was encouraged, and my eyes continued hopefully down my stream. The third tweet referred to the hot, humid day occurring where this woman resided, and, living in the D.C. area where summer and humidity are interchangeable, I prepared to commiserate.
Fortunately, my eyes slipped a tweet further before my slow reflexes could click on my mouse. The gal with whom I was about to communicate was tweeting from within the walls of the prison where she currently resided for having been convicted of murder.
Refusing to admit defeat yet, I tracked another series of tweets upward, following a fragile looking young woman as she traveled from place to place through a major city. Coming from an earlier generation, I now found myself increasingly concerned about the way she was exposing her location to a possible stalker.
Reaching the “What’s happening?” box, I paused a moment to compose something of great value that I could tweet to a world I was sure wasn’t exactly holding its breath, just as a new message fell into line from a long term widow.
Today, I learned, would have been her 25th wedding anniversary, although she had no idea why she was tweeting this bit of information to the world.
With a click of my mouse, I prepared a reply, “My husband died 18 yrs ago. You never forget those you love.” I clicked on the tweet button, sent out my first short message of the day, and let out a sigh.
Despite the weird exhibitionists and mindless verbal noise, I realized that I had just managed to reach across time and space, and hopefully, I had made someone I didn’t even know feel just a little bit better on what for her must’ve been a difficult day.
Time has passed, and I have long since embraced Twitter. I have made new friends, mentored fledgling writers, and kept in touch with colleagues. My tweets have reached around an ever-shrinking world, opening up new doors for me. I’ve been introduced to new blogs, been reminded of old truths, and soaked up lots of new facts.
I have shrunk the generation gap as I’ve shared humor with much younger people. I’ve recognized creative spirits on other continents. I have felt my heartstrings plucked by poets inspired by places I’ve never seen.
My mind journeys back to the widow who cried out in pain in a mere 140 characters and received an even shorter response from me.
Was the exchange worth it?
For her? Maybe.
For me? At the time, not so much, but the power of being able to do so was astonishing.
I’m pleased to report that Twitter’s software has improved, as has my understanding of its uses.
Now each morning, I haul my pitcher of espresso to my great-aunt Martha’s tea table that stands ready for it. Once settled into my comfortable chair, I turn on my laptop, sip on my coffee, and begin searching my stream for an old friend here, a colleague there and, perhaps, another new acquaintance.
The world is my oyster, and I rejoice in it!
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
When to Remain Silent (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!