We joined my parents at the Lithuanian Club for a fundraising breakfast for a memorial for veterans of the Korean War – a good cause, but a pretty lousy breakfast. Pop referred to the biscuits and gravy by their military name: shit on a shingle. I enjoyed my fruit cocktail in a tiny styrofoam cup, and Shane was astonished to see that not only was beer available at the bar at 8am, but there were a number of beers being consumed at said hour. Pop often gets tickets to these sorts of events from his patients – sometimes they’re good, sometimes not, but they’re always interesting!
There are a variety of reasons that I find places like the Lithuanian Club so fascinating. Social clubs of this sort inhabit an entirely different part of the world that that with which I’m familiar. I have no one ethnicity or homeland on which I pride myself – my family tree is a jumble of Germans, with a few Dutch, Irish, and English thrown in for good measure, but they’ve all been here at least a century. We were transplants, landing in Rockford when my parents were 30, with two kids and another on the way, and with Pop in the early days of his medical career. We settled in a part of town that was full of cul-de-sacs and two car garages, where sidewalks were optional and most moms stayed at home. We interacted with the kids and families from our neighborhood, our school, and our church. Those were our third places.
I wonder what will happen to places like the Lithuanian Club in the next few decades. The median age at breakfast was easily 70 – my parents, at 57, were among the younger in the room. My parents’ generation had the PTA and other school organizations, fitness clubs and rec sports leagues, and frequently two workplaces’ worth of potential colleagues and friends. And if we want to meet like-minded individuals, there are a bajillion Facebook groups. So what of social clubs? Will they just cease to exist? Is it our responsibility to maintain them in the face of more efficient online alternatives?
0 thoughts on “0808 Breakfast at the Lithuanian Club”
“And if we want to meet like-minded individuals, there are a bajillion Facebook groups. So what of social clubs? Will they just cease to exist? Is it our responsibility to maintain them in the face of more efficient online alternatives?” Awwwwwk!!! Facebook is not “meeting”, IMHO. You don’t “meet” anyone you don’t already know in the face-to-face world on Facebook. You just “interact” in a creepy, impersonal, half-baked, interactive kind of faux way. (Feeling ornery today, I guess. Sorry.) No way is online an alternative to real life. “Efficient online alternatives”? FB is not even ‘alternatives’ to the actual world. Let alone more ‘efficient’. IMhumbleO
Sorry! (And I’m not even Lithuanian.)
I’d think that for many people the Internet has helped them make connections “in real life.” People have used Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, Myspace, online dating, etc., to forge bonds with others who share common interests, a desire to date/marry/hook up, and so forth.
Also, I think one of Facebook’s most useful features is that it helps me connect with musicians/institutions that hold events in my area that would interest me. I’ve been to a lot of things that I found out about through Facebook and I made new friends.
And I almost forgot to mention that Couchsurfing brought me in touch with the author of this blog.
People will find ways of congregating that make sense to them. I think it’s fairly universal that we feel a need to see people face to face — that’s not going to go away. But it can be facilitated in both digital and analog. I’m not sure that either is innately superior.