October 10, 2015

To join or not to join Facebook

By JoAnne Wilkinson

Several years ago, a friend of mine posted photos on Facebook, and she encouraged me to join Facebook so that I could see her photos. I asked her just to email the photos to me. Like so many people I was apprehensive about joining Facebook, as I did not want my private life to be on public display.

A few months before my 45th high school reunion I got the idea that joining Facebook would actually be a good way to connect with old friends before the reunion. So I joined Facebook using my maiden name.  However, I did not connect with one single classmate. 

Despite that, I stayed on Facebook and have enjoyed the daily posts that my Facebook friends make. I like seeing the photos of meals, sunrises, birthday parties and walks on the Thacker Mountain Trail.

Encore, encore

I really enjoy some of the videos that people post on Facebook. One that I keep replaying is of a cat giving a dog a face massage while his owner, speaking in a very hypnotic voice says, “You will give me all your treats, and let me sleep on your bed.” The dog immediately opens his eyes in a startled manner and the cat has to soothe him back to sleep. Another one I like is of a French-Canadian airplane pilot doing acrobatic stunts with his very young daughter in the seat behind him. You can see her smiling, clapping her hands and shouting, “Encore, encore” when her father rolls and loops the plane. I can see that adorable little girl growing up to be a fearless aviator. Just recently there was a video from France showing a group of pink stationary bicycles lined up facing a huge building. People got on the bikes and started peddling away and their energy was harnessed into light and music to create the image of a man doing a strip tease on the face of the building. The girls were whistling, cheering and frantically pedaling faster. The image disappeared behind the “curtains” and reappeared with a sign held in front of him saying, “Bravo! Vous avez de pense 2000 calories.” What a great way to burn some calories!

I also have joined a few groups on Facebook. My neighborhood is part of a group and it is helpful to find missing pets, inform neighbors of events and pass along relevant information. I follow the Oxford Police Department on Facebook, and their posts give all kinds of useful information. I even formed a Facebook page with Donovan Lyons called “Keep Oxford and Lafayette County Litter Free,” and that page has generated a lot of interest. Please check it out.

A heart-warming story

One group I joined called “I Grew Up in Amherst, NY” connected me to my hometown. The group has featured all kinds of nostalgia from photos of what Amherst looked like in the 1950s to long discussions about favorite places to eat. Buffalo is well known for its great restaurants so the food posts go on forever.

One post that really struck me was about a mentally challenged man named Judd who lived on my street when I was just a child. When Judd was in his 30s his parents died within a month of each other. Judd did odd jobs around the community like cutting grass, and washing cars, but it was not enough to pay the bills. In the middle of winter his electricity and water were cut off. The bank was in the process of repossessing the house, but Judd just continued living there as he had nowhere else to go.  Another family in the neighborhood, the Bakert family, became aware of the fact that Judd was without electricity and it was a really cold winter. Mr. Bakert and his older sons went over to Judd’s house and invited him to spend Christmas with them. Judd came, and he never left. He ended up living the rest of his life with the Bakert family, and became a much-loved member of their family. They owned a delicatessen, and Judd helped out there. Just recently Judd died of a heart attack sitting in his favorite chair in the Bakert’s living room.

I think about that story so often and feel such respect for the Bakert family for just doing the right thing.  I would not have known about the entire story if I had not joined Facebook. It has giving me hours of amusement, connected me to people and touched my heart with stories.

Joanne Wilkinson is an Oxford resident. You can reach her at jwilkinson1487@gmail.com.