#970 – Dick Bernard: Reflecting on My 1977 Christmas Letter

All best wishes to you and yours at this season, however you recognize it – and that can get confusing. I just came from the post office, which annually offers a large variety of Christmas and holiday themed stamps, hopefully to treat respectfully the largest number of people in this wonderfully diverse country of ours.
It occurred to me yesterday that this year is exactly half a life-time since I sent my first “home-made” Christmas card (in 1977, below). It had three panels: very simple. The sentiments I expressed then, fit today as well.
(click to enlarge)

1977 Christmas Card

1977 Christmas Card


The year was 1977, 37 years ago. Son Tom, then 13, drew the Christmas tree (we didn’t have a “real” or even artificial one that winter).
Of course, the only means of transmission then were in person, or by U.S. mail.
The “tradition” came for me to identify one particular significant event each year, and to write something about it.
The first time I went primarily to electronic transmission was well after the year 2000.
Fast forward to today.
This greeting can go anywhere/everywhere. But likely fewer people actually read it, than read that handmade card 37 years ago. Many of my own age range have never warmed to even e-mail; many more, like myself, are slow on the uptake with the already old-fashioned Facebook, and more recent Twitter, and the other shorthand ways of “touching base”.
We’re still in a canyon of non-communication*. In the midst of infinite means of communicating, everywhere, any time, instantly, something like this won’t reach people who don’t do internet; many on internet don’t do e-mail, or are so glutted with “communication” that a survival skill is the delete key…and sometimes worthy communication is missed. It’s a trying time, in so many ways.
I’ll be long gone when the next 37 year mark is reached. I wonder how people will be communicating then, if there are even people left to communicate with (a scary thought, but worth contemplating – we are the difference between having a future, or not).
For now, though, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
And if you wish, here are recent blog posts that might speak to you in some way or other: “St. Nicholas“; “The Wallet“; “The Retreat“; “The Dinner Party”
* – This came home to me in a handwritten note with a Christmas card from long-time friend Joanne, received Dec 15: “I was going to e-mail you this Christmas letter as I know you prefer that but no e-mail address for you! Please send it and I’ll make sure it gets on my computer.”
She forgot to include her e-mail address….
Yes, it is difficult to communicate these days of mass communication!
POSTNOTE: Dec 22: Saturday morning I was at my usual “station”, Caribou Coffee in Woodbury, writing Christmas letters (in this case, to people for whom I had no e-mail address, advising them of this blog post). After all, everyone knows someone with computer, even if they don’t know how to use it! I’ve also learned that printed out versions of blogs don’t look as good as on the screen – tiny type font and all. Another problem in transitioning to a new way.
An older guy, who I know as another regular, came up to note that I was probably doing Christmas cards. Yes I was, I said. He said, he doesn’t do Christmas cards any more. We didn’t explore the topic in any depth; we really didn’t have to.
1977 is long gone, but it was good while it lasted….

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