On diesel boats we did not get to receive familygrams. Familygrams were reserved for the sailors who served aboard the fleet ballistic missile submarines. Originally those were the Polaris submarines, then the Poseidon submarines. Nowadays they use Trident submarines, and Trident missiles. I have no idea what today's technology affords for communications. But in the early 1970s the sailors who served aboard missile submarines, and their families, were only able to use familygrams to communicate. For 90 days at a time, they were out of touch with each other, except for these very brief little messages.
Familygrams were one way only. Sailors could not send familygrams. But twice a month each sailor could receive a familygram. Each message was 25 words or less, and it was supposed to be confidential, personal information. But the technology of the day resulted in every radioman on every submarine in the fleet receiving every familygram, even if he was aboard a submarine that did not participate in the familygram program.
We tried to ignore the familygrams. They were, after all, none of our business. But from time to time there would be a message so compelling that it wound up shared among the other sailors aboard. The personal, identifying information was removed, but the content was shared.
I only remember two, after all these years. One was intended to be very private, from a wife to her husband:
"Thanksgiving's here and I am blue.
The turkey needs stuffing, and I do too."
The other was intended to be a bit more public. Three wives pooled their 25 words into a single 75-word message. They included news of all of the children and other family members in the first 70 words. Then they ended the group familygram with,
"One of us is pregnant."