*How many of us remember Mr. Rogers.  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…a beautiful day in the neighborhood … won’t you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor?

Popular words and phrases these days seem to be …community, neighbors, and connecting.    If we all made a concerted effort to really get to know our neighbors, we would automatically become connected, and more tolerant of our differences, on some level, however small, just by default.  In this face paced world of ever growing technology how do we get back to the basics and stay connected?

I can remember, on many occasions, as a child, being in the kitchen, my mother cooking or baking some type of dish, and running out of ingredients.  My mother would then suggest I go to the neighbor’s house to borrow an egg, or a cup of sugar, and my choices to borrow from included more than just one neighbor.

Mr. and Mrs. Lansing lived directly across the street, and owned a beautiful black and white dog named Tiger.  Mrs. Lansing had jet black hair, wore bright red lipstick, and in today’s world of cosmetics her shade would have definitely been Russian Red or Cherries in the Snow.   She would teach me gymnastics in her back yard.  She taught me to do my first front,  and back walk over and taught me to do  the splits, and yes I can still do the splits, thank you very much!

We’d go on vacation and, in our absence, a neighbor would collect our mail, and my parents might pay a neighborhood child to water my mother’s prized flowers, in the front flower bed.  Someone else might remove the newspaper that was tossed in the driveway by the delivery boy, on his first paper route, driven by his father.  Someone else might be in charge of actually coming inside the home to turn on the outside lights for the nighttime hours.  We were involved in each other’s lives; there was a different connection…nothing forced but very real.

Now, allow me to CREATE a similar scenario 35 years later.

IMAGINE Mr. and Mrs. Lansing who lived directly across the street; eventually, they divorced. He remarried three times, her only twice.  They now have a large pool of step children who now have a nice blend of half brothers and sisters…what some might consider a new community within one’s own family.

We’re leaving for vacation so I’ll call the post office and have them hold my mail, until I return.  On second thought, that won’t be necessary because I use a PO Box.  It’s much safer these days, with all the long hours I keep and the traveling I do with my job, coming in and out of town for short and long periods of time.  This way no one can tamper with my mail.

I don’t want my flowers to die while I’m away so I’ll contact my gardener and pay him extra to water the flowers until I return.  I’ll call the local newspaper and stop delivery while I’m gone.  Oh, not necessary, how could I forget I switched to an online subscription.  It’s just much more convenient and with today’s technology I can read it anytime, anywhere.  Besides, the delivery boy whose parents introduced him to that job for the purpose of character building has been replaced by a 50 year old man who has been laid off from his job, and relies on the paper route for survival.  His shift is split with a single mother whose backset passenger is in a car seat, while she tosses papers, into driveways, from the window of her car.

Let’s not forget to set the all the timers so the lights inside and outside the house will be properly activated.  If anyone ventures too close to the doors or windows, with this state of the art alarm system, law enforcement and the security company will arrive within 3 minutes.

Excellent, the shuttle has arrived, and we’re off to the airport.  We won’t have to wait in line and waste time with an airline representative because we checked in on line.  But if there is a problem, we’ll use the kiosk once we arrive at the terminal.

Japhena Says… This is our reality.  Our modes of communicating, connecting and interacting are quickly changing.   Will we even need each other thirty years from now?  Or the bigger question… Will we WANT to need each other thirty years from now?

Let’s get back to the basics?

Until next time,


Back to the Basics by Japhenakaymusson

Japhena Kay Musson is a Los Angeles based Voice over Artist, Freelance Columnist & Speaker.  She holds a degree in Communications with an expertise in Entertainment and Broadcast Media.  As a columnist she sheds an honest light on life as she sees it, and encourages others to identify their true path on this journey called life.  She prides herself on being happily married more than 16 years and the mother of two wonderful children.  Connect with Japhena at www.Japhena.com and email [email protected].