“So Far Away” -`Carole King
With Thanksgiving just last week and Christmas fast approaching, I started thinking about all of the holiday celebrations of years gone by and people that are no longer here to celebrate. Some of these people have passed away but many have moved to a different part of the country. It made me think about this…Why “don’t” people stay in one place any more?
When I was growing up my whole family lived in the same city. No one ever moved and they stayed in the same house forever. My parents lived in the house they built before I was born and never once moved. I don’t remember any of my aunts and uncles or grandparents moving either. There was one uncle who did and I was very upset when they moved since they lived right down the street from us and moved to another end of the city altogether. It wasn’t that far away really, but it was like they were living across the country to me since I was five at the time they moved and sad I couldn’t see them everyday.
We got together for birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and many other times though out the year and we all celebrated together as a family. Aunts, uncles, great aunts great uncles, and cousins, everyone would be there. And we went to my grandparents every Sunday night for dinner, most of the family would be there as well. I don’t think I appreciated this as a young girl but looking back on it now, it was wonderful to have those times together. I did look forward to seeing my cousins especially at Christmas. We would all hang out in the kitchen and look out the window for Santa and his sleigh to fly by. The older kids would tell stories of how he flew right over Grandma’s house and how they saw him once, so of course we younger kids were glued to the window looking for this to happen again.
I remember these times and how much fun we all had together. But not just the fun times, it was also the way the family pulled together if there was someone in need or if someone was ill too. Someone would come over to help out, make dinner or just sit and chat. Everyone was there for you as a kid, too. We didn’t have babysitters, my Aunt or older cousin would watch us if my parents went out of town. That didn’t really happen very often because if they went on vacation or out of town, we went with them. The family unit was a strong one and you knew someone was always around and would speak up or help out if you needed them. Because they were nearby and we saw them on a least a weekly basis you felt like you always had someone there to help if you needed it, but God help us if we misbehaved, they were also there to let you know when you did wrong.
Yes, it was a wonderful back in those days. We saw these people all the time. And then something happened. Everything changed, people didn’t get together as much. Each family had their own family and were busy with their lives and jobs. Some of the family moved out of the area. We went from seeing people all the time to maybe once a year and then most of the time it was at a funeral.
When did this all change? When did people start moving away from the close knit family unit? Did it change when more people started going to college and they stayed in or near the city where they went to college? Did jobs dry up and they needed to go to more urban cities with higher paying jobs? I know of many people who moved away due to health issues and needing to be in warmer dryer climates.
I know people my age who say they don’t see their children or grandchildren but maybe once a year if they are lucky. I am blessed that 2 of my children and 2 of my grandchildren live nearby. And the other child and her 3 boys live out of the area, but we all really make an effort to see each other several times a year and talk on the phone and FaceTime weekly. It makes it seem like they are not “so far away.”
Why doesn’t anybody stay in one place any more?
“Long ago I reached for you and there you stood. Holding you again could only do me good. Oh how I wish I could. But you’re so far away.”