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City of Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, Department of Aging, Edgewater Senior Center In The Broadway Armory Park. Photos: GHung

As people get older, some begin to remove themselves from human company and choose pet animals for companionship, instead of persons. Elders prefer to keep a bird in a cage, a cat wandering around them, or a dog mascot to feed, walk, watch, and train for company at home–any animal can replace human company and require more care and expense than another being.

Some people would rather provide housing for a pet animal mascot than a human being. They prefer to have a bedroom for the birds, the cats, the dogs, rather than invite a human being to stay with them at home, in their apartment, condominium or house. Have you ever seen any astray cats, dogs or pets loose on Broadway in the Edgewater neighborhood or in Rogers Park by Lake Michigan?

Nowadays, pet owners take better care of their mascots than of their human friends. Some prefer to be with their domestic pet, instead of a significant other. Have animal mascots replaced women and children first?

The time has come when… a Pomeranian dog replaces a Nanny to watch over a young child during his play time.

Or is the seeing guide dog for the blind which replaces any significant other or an estranged spouse?

Even a pet animal can be a substitute for a friend, male or a female.

However, mascots are not human nor will domestic pets ever speak like one.

Kathy Osterman Beach, Edgewater by Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois USA. Photo: Gardenia Hung

Kathy Osterman Beach House
5800 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60660
(312) 742-5121

Gardenia C. Hung, M.A., B.A.
Consulting Social Media Arts Communications

On Wednesday mornings, Interpersonal Communication comes to mind at the Edgewater Senior Center during Group Discussion weekly. There is a regular group of seniors who meet for open discussion on a given topic assigned by the Social Worker for one (1) hour every week. The subject of “Friendship” inspired and motivated everyone to share personal experiences about friendship over the years and a lifetime.

Before meeting with the group, many of the senior participants do give thought to the Interpersonal Group Topic in mind, beforehand, which allows a person to recollect, recall, and remember over the years, even a lifetime of experiences. Everyone has a turn speaking out loud during the Group Discussion on Wednesdays, for one (1) hour, after attendance is taken by writing out names on the Social Worker’s Group Participant Sheet. One has to think about what to say in order to share relevant experiences during a lifetime with the others in the Group Discussion.

The subject of Friendship allows one to recall everyone who has been a “Friend” as far back as early childhood. Even children, young people, adults, and elders who were meaningful helpers as childhood friends, who helped one to grow, walk, talk, and learn to communicate at the age of 2 or 3 years old. Friends can be others, not your parents, father or mother, nor brothers or sisters. So, Friendship can be timeless when one remembers over the years those who have helped a person during the process of growing up, learning to speak and listen, early reading and writing, going to school, rites of passage, growing pains of youth, early adulthood, and the ever challenging stage of maturity—that is to say, experiencing life’s trials and tribulations as one gets older in time, space, and physical presence.

During early childhood, Kindergarten classmates can be meaningful, as well as the first teacher one has ever had in school. Grammar school classmates from elementary school also remember growing together as time goes by in one’s lifetime. High school friends also remain in one’s life as a test of time after sharing the growing pains of adolescence and surviving the challenges of high school together—it is a great accomplishment to graduate from high school and live to talk about it, nowadays. High school co-workers during one’s first job also stand the test of time as friends, while people continue their working life and return into one’s life during the course of a lifetime.

College friends have a special place in one’s heart, but may not remain there over a lifetime. Even when the closest friendships develop over the college years and graduate school at the university level. Sometimes, friendships do not hold the test of time nor are friends as loyal as they used to be before college graduation or graduate school graduation at the university. However, people do remember those who were classmate friends in college or graduate school over time, space, and physical presence. Friendship can be timeless.

Over the years, as one gets older, a person can acquire lots of friends who remember you as someone who was interested in being a friend, walking, talking, going out, dating, having lunch, dining together in a class group during the French Club meetings in Chicago, Skokie, Lincolnwood, etc.

Other friendships may have developed during group activities by playing sports like volleyball tournament leagues at the Broadway Armory Park over the years. Now that the Broadway Armory Park is celebrating a centennial anniversary, many people remember the friendships made over the years while playing sports and exercising for athletic performance.

Pen pals can also become friends over time, space, and physical presence, no matter how far the distance can be, letter writing correspondence has been known to develop longtime friendships which stand the test of time. Letter-writing to friends can be a good form of communication to develop a strong friendship. Friendship is timeless.

Good friends remain loyal, supportive, and available over time, space, and physical presence, no matter where people are located around the world. Friendship can be timeless. Good friends remember you during good times and at bad times. Good friends reach out to you when you need them for support, a listening ear or good word, even critical comments.

Psychic friends belong to the collective consciousness community who use their minds to help others in time of need, despair, disaster, distress, displacement, and many of life’s challenges.

During the 21st century, with the advent of social media and the world wide web, there is a new type of social media friendship which can be a “virtual” friendship over the internet and the cyber world of information technology using personal computers, mobile cellular telephones, portable devices, satellite telecommunications, etc.

Men and women can be good friends over time, space, and physical presence. Even LGBTQI can become good friends during interpersonal communication groups or even in other social interactions and situations, given the opportunity to share experiences.

Friendship is based upon a mutual agreement between two or more people who want to share time, affection, feelings, emotions, empathy, sympathy, honesty, transcendence, understanding, compassion, trust, lodging accommodations, life experiences, travel adventures, voyages abroad, company, meals, personal interests, dining experiences, interpersonal communication, common goals, missions, resources, information, transportation, living quarters, houses, etc.

Friendship is timeless even when good friends change over time, space, and physical presence.

“Friends are friends in any language”.


Gardenia C. Hung, M.A., B.A.
Consulting Social Media Arts Communications

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