New York City 469 300x199 POSITIVE PARENTING   I WONDER IF I CAN GET DICK TRACY ON THIS THINGWhen I was a young man I loved to read the Dick Tracy comic that appeared in the daily paper. Dick Tracy was a 1930’s Chicago police detective who fought some of most despicable criminals of the time. Of course these criminals were fictitious but what made him a unique crime fighter was his two-way wrist radio.

With his wrist radio, he was able to communicate with the whole police force. Each day I looked forward to reading how he used his communication device to rally his police department and defeat the throngs of evil.

During the time that I read this comic there was no technology that offered communication at that level. If I remember correctly color television was first introduced in 1969. For most it’s hard to believe there was a world without color.

For many years we watched all the shows of the time on our black and white television. It wasn’t until a few years later that we became part of the new wave of color television owners.  

The other means of communication was through the use of something called a land line telephone. In the beginning our phone line was called a party line. This meant that we had to share the phone line with other families. Here, also, it would be a few years before each family had their own phone line.

My mom communicated with my sister, brother and I in two ways when we were out of the house.

We lived on the 8th floor in 1414 Bergen Street. My mom would peer down at us with her super human vision. When we looked up at the apartment and saw her standing in the window, we would wave at her to let her know that we were where we were supposed to be.

The other way we communicated was by using the phone. The three of us got older and we have traveled in different directions.  That was the main way we stayed in touch with each other.

I believe the date was January 1, 1973. I had informed my parents just a few days before that I was moving to Cleveland, Ohio.  It was not a secret that I was moving there, it wasn’t until then that I knew exactly when I was leaving.

This was the biggest decision I had, up until that point, made regarding my future. Up to this time I was basically a moma’s boy who stayed close to my family and was greatly influenced by them. This was the first time I made a choice not just to move out of the house but to move out of the state.

Cleveland, Ohio is about 600 miles from NYC. This trip was not a drive around the corner or even a drive to one of the other boroughs in NYC.  This was a drive to another part of the country. To a part of the world where the lifestyle and culture was much different from what I had become used to in Jamaica, New York.

When I arrived in Cleveland on thing about me stood out and that just how immature and irresponsible I was. I was a real mess and I apologize to my hosts Carl and Pam for any inconvenience that I may have caused them.

During that time I had a chance to spend some time in Youngstown, Ohio. There I met someone who was to become my wife and the mother of two of my sons, Wendell Jr. and Deshawn.  One was born there. The other is a born New Yorker. My third son, Jonathan, is also a born New Yorker and 21 years younger than his oldest brother. He’s their brother from another mother. (LOL)

In 1973 there were no cell phones, beepers or the internet. Despite this my parents were always in contact with me. They must have had at least 4 or 5 phone numbers where they could reach me. Sometimes there would be a few hours between the time I received the message and the time I actually made the call.

I believe that although I was very far away, there was no reason for them not to keep in contact with me. That’s the way it was in those days. I can remember towards the later part of my stay in Ohio when I would spend countless hours on the phone with my mom just talking about stuff.

My mom now suffers from dementia and I greatly miss our phone and face to face conversations.

I lived in that area for about 13 years. It is a wonderful part of the country that has rich traditions and a nice quality of life. I enjoyed living there very much but due to the declining economy I chose to return home.

During all that time in Ohio I guess my parents were instilling in me the need to stay in contact with family members because it is very important. The way we stay close is to stay in contact.  

Over time I have made a concerted effort to stay in touch with my 3 sons. (There was a television show by the same name. How many of you remember it?)

The technology over the years has been improved dramatically. 

At first we had beepers. The only problem was when you got beeped you had to stop what you are doing to search for a pay phone. Sometimes, when I reached the pay phone, it wouldn’t be working. There were times when I spent more time searching for a phone than actually using the phone.

The pay phone was an item that many people used. It’s a wonder that many of us didn’t get sick using these things. YUCK!!

Wendell Jr., Deshawn and I have the latest communication technology. Jonathan is a little too young (he’s 9) but it won’t be long before he will be right in line or on line.

I talk or text Wendell Jr. and Deshawn many times throughout the day. We can be in different parts of the city and still be able to stay in contact with one another.

I was once on the bus and I overheard two ladies discussing how they didn’t like using text messaging.  I wondered how they communicate with their kids when they are away from home because in this day and age texting is required phone etiquette. Who doesn’t text??

Wendell Jr. has 3 kids of his own and he understands how important it is to stay in contact with them. He spends a few days during the week talking to Kamaria, Amir and Naila. The technology of today’s cell phones makes it possible to see the person as you are talking to them. There are many times during these calls when I stick my head in front of the camera and say hello to my grand kids.

All in all we have come a long way in the ways that we communicate and there is no excuse for not staying in contact with your kids. As positive parents we owe it to our kids to be technologically knowledgeable.

I wonder if I could get Dick Tracy on this thing.

I am the guy whose glass is always ½ full.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *