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The Good ‘Ol Days

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Memphis: It’s like riding a bike: traveling home and rememberance


I traveled back to Memphis between spring and summer classes. It was a decision I made quickly in March when I heard a friend in Colorado was going to be in town at same time and I wanted to see friends who had lost a dear family member.
Two nights after I flew home, I asked my dad to help retrieve my mother’s barely used bike from the garage. It was a surprise Christmas gift in 2010 that many Memphians gave with the new Greenline newly opened. Anyway, he pumped some air into the tires, adjusted the seat, and I got on.

It jolted me back to my bike riding days on Redfearn Cove in East Memphis. Yes, I’ve taken some spin classes at the local gym, but this was different. I wobbled and didn’t pedal at first. But, I found my balance and rode around our little neighborhood for about twenty minutes.

Bike riding was something I did with the neighborhood kids and my sister, but also begrudgingly with my dad who tried to teach me to ride. It took forever to learn, but now I know I was on schedule. As I got older, the bikes got jammed into the garage with dust gathering–and I moved on.

Ever reflect on certain times in life-maybe childhood, maybe highschool, or a great trip, or a horrible job and say-did that really happen? I’ve had a lot of those thoughts lately about my 29 years. Are they memories I created that happened or just stories told over and over or pictures I’ve seen countless times?

My trip home was like that evening on the bike–wobbling between friends who are creating their own lives without me sharing a lot of it, balancing adulthood and riding in circles around the questions and concerns my parents have for my future.

I know I need to keep peddling forward with my head high, a firm grip, and the wind in my hair.

Summer is coming and I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Intergenerational


For the last two weeks, I’ve spent my Tuesday evenings at Wake Robin, a retirement community in Shelburne, VT(not far from Burlington proper). I immediately said yes to helping the residents in the Geek Lab classes who needed extra one on one time that Jeff couldn’t give. I was given two “students”, Mary Jane and Don, who wanted more help with podcasting, and they were hungry, so to speak.

Very hungry.

My classmates and I got to eat dinner at Wake Robin(not bad at all, actually), and then got to work. Mary Jane and Don both had PC computers, but Mary Jane’s wasn’t a laptop, so we would work with my Macbook and Don’s Dell laptop. She had questions about what is a podcast, how to do it, but we had to start from the very beginning.

They both knew of iTunes, but needed AppleIDs. So, checked that off the list-they now can download iTunes, subscribe to podcasts(after a tutorial of how to find them), and browse for books(yet they need a ebook reader). Don was very hesitant to give his credit card information and so was Mary Jane–interesting to once again see the age factor play here. I have no fear, yet they do. So do my parents.

We veered off topic, and they asked about Pandora, and Mary Jane wanted to learn how to record her own voice. The second week Mary Jane couldn’t attend, but Don and I got him signed up for Pandora and we made a few stations for him: Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, a classical station, and Nat King Cole. He’ll being jammin’ in his home in no time! He was pretty pleased. Don also got to learn about Skype, and he and I practiced so that he can talk to his granddaughters. Success.

Twitter was not in the cards for him-we tried about four times to get him signed up, but either Wake Robin’s internet connection was slammed with users, or Twitter was having problems at that point. He wanted to know what is a tweet, and just what Twitter is used for in life. He decided not for him, but maybe Facebook? So now, Don, at 83 years of age, is a Facebooker, a Skype user, a Pandora listener, and an iTunes podcast fan.

It was great to meet them, and I had a small emotional moment in the bathroom. I think this week was in general hard for me(boss from Memphis lost his dad this week whom I knew pretty well, homework is taking a toll, my 29th birthday is next Friday, I think I’m getting sick and I’m just tired) and I couldn’t help think of my own grandparents. I only have one grandmother left after my paternal grandmother died a week before I left Memphis to move here. My maternal grandfather was heavily into computers when he was alive, and was a data processor for the city of Memphis. He died in 1990 at the young age of 72. I can’t help think that I am carrying on a part of him with my laptop tech job, and this degree program.

As I sat with Don, we had a lull while Skype was connecting, and he asked when I taught computer in Memphis if I had my students learn typing. I told him I did and they learned speed drills, correct hand placement, and I had them even hide their hands under a piece of paper to learn coordination and memory. He shared that in WWII he was in the Army Services as a morse code translator and had to learn to type while listening to the code. It was like I was sitting with my grandfather telling his own army stories.

As I talk with first year MFA students, I can’t help but wonder if this could be a career-helping “older folks” learn technology, or just help/consult those who need advice or instructional help, or a possible thesis?

Mary Jane and Don have left a great impact on me, and I hope I have with them. They just want to be heard, to not be forgotten, and to keep up with the rest of the world.

Intergenerational


For the last two weeks, I’ve spent my Tuesday evenings at Wake Robin, a retirement community in Shelburne, VT(not far from Burlington proper). I immediately said yes to helping the residents in the Geek Lab classes who needed extra one on one time that Jeff couldn’t give. I was given two “students”, Mary Jane and Don, who wanted more help with podcasting, and they were hungry, so to speak.

Very hungry.

My classmates and I got to eat dinner at Wake Robin(not bad at all, actually), and then got to work. Mary Jane and Don both had PC computers, but Mary Jane’s wasn’t a laptop, so we would work with my Macbook and Don’s Dell laptop. She had questions about what is a podcast, how to do it, but we had to start from the very beginning.

They both knew of iTunes, but needed AppleIDs. So, checked that off the list-they now can download iTunes, subscribe to podcasts(after a tutorial of how to find them), and browse for books(yet they need a ebook reader). Don was very hesitant to give his credit card information and so was Mary Jane–interesting to once again see the age factor play here. I have no fear, yet they do. So do my parents. 

We veered off topic, and they asked about Pandora, and Mary Jane wanted to learn how to record her own voice. The second week Mary Jane couldn’t attend, but Don and I got him signed up for Pandora and we made a few stations for him: Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, a classical station, and Nat King Cole. He’ll being jammin’ in his home in no time! He was pretty pleased. Don also got to learn about Skype, and he and I practiced so that he can talk to his granddaughters. Success.

Twitter was not in the cards for him-we tried about four times to get him signed up, but either Wake Robin’s internet connection was slammed with users, or Twitter was having problems at that point. He wanted to know what is a tweet, and just what Twitter is used for in life. He decided not for him, but maybe Facebook? So now, Don, at 83 years of age, is a Facebooker, a Skype user, a Pandora listener, and an iTunes podcast fan. 

It was great to meet them, and I had a small emotional moment in the bathroom. I think this week was in general hard for me(boss from Memphis lost his dad this week whom I knew pretty well, homework is taking a toll, my 29th birthday is next Friday, I think I’m getting sick and I’m just tired) and I couldn’t help think of my own grandparents. I only have one grandmother left after my paternal grandmother died a week before I left Memphis to move here. My maternal grandfather was heavily into computers when he was alive, and was a data processor for the city of Memphis. He died in 1990 at the young age of 72. I can’t help think that I am carrying on a part of him with my laptop tech job, and this degree program.

As I sat with Don, we had a lull while Skype was connecting, and he asked when I taught computer in Memphis if I had my students learn typing. I told him I did and they learned speed drills, correct hand placement, and I had them even hide their hands under a piece of paper to learn coordination and memory. He shared that in WWII he was in the Army Services as a morse code translator and had to learn to type while listening to the code. It was like I was sitting with my grandfather telling his own army stories. 

As I talk with first year MFA students, I can’t help but wonder if this could be a career-helping “older folks” learn technology, or just help/consult those who need advice or instructional help, or a possible thesis? 

Mary Jane and Don have left a great impact on me, and I hope I have with them. They just want to be heard, to not be forgotten, and to keep up with the rest of the world.