Thursday, June 28, 2007

At least since I was a little kid, and I think for a long time before that, my grandmother has sent regular missives to the diaspora of her family. They started as hand-written letters, copied at the local post office, and sent out manually. About 15 years ago, we bought her an electric typewriter; her letters were perhaps longer after that, and of course typewritten, but otherwise unchanged.

It was probably 10 years ago that Keith and I pitched in and bought her first computer. She was horrified at the thought, and even called our uncle in a panic: "They've bought me a computer, and they're bringing it over, and I need you to make them stop!" Nevertheless, we set it up for her, and walked her through turning it on. We showed her how to point and click with a mouse, showed her how to use a word processor, and how to access the Internet with a browser. She remained unimpressed.

Then we showed her email.

Keith and I had no idea we were about to create a monster. We should have known by the way her breath quickened when she saw us adding email addresses to the "To:" line. She watched us change fonts, and then email backgrounds, her eyes narrowing. She sat down. We showed her how easy it was to reply to her emails, and how easily she could reply to ours. The look on her face grew sharp, and hungry. She wanted this.

The monster was born.

Ten years, three computers, two printers, and many thousands of emails later, we've learned that the monster must be fed. If Grandma doesn't get twenty or thirty emails a day, she feels neglected. She forwards emails like a fiend. She keeps track of who has sent her emails recently and who hasn't. Woe betide the grandson who has neglected to email his grandmother, for his neglect shall be broadcast to the entire family, and then some.

But it's been ten years, and technology has moved on; and the monster must be fed. In keeping with the spirit of the times, we've set her up with her own blog: She hasn't figured out posting yet, though that'll come; until it does, I'm handling it for her. But every word is hers.

As to the blog itself: it's just the daily life of a woman who's seen 90 summers in her lifetime, and 90 winters; who's watched three generations grow up in her house; who's cooked more meals than I know how to count and fed more hungry descendants than I care to; who's watched the husband she's loved dearly for 75 years grow old alongside her. It's just life; but it's life.

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