Thanks to Neil Diamond and his song, “I Am, I Said,” for the title of this post even though the grammatical errors make me a little crazy — but, admittedly, “New York’s home but it isn’t mine anymore” is not as poetic… and it would be even more of a mouthful for singing. I will momentarily forgive his grammar because Neil Diamond went to my high school (Abraham Lincoln High School on Ocean Parkway) and his aunt owned a beauty parlor on Brighton Beach Avenue (appropriately called “Diamonds”) where she proudly displayed his photo in the window. And, while I’m on the subject of the song, “I Am, I Said,” I’d like to thank Jerry for making the trek back to New York with me just so we could see my mother and brother and for, more than 30 years ago, not “leaving me lonely still.” I don’t even want to imagine what my life would have been like without San Geraldo.
|WE MOVED HERE FROM LONG ISLAND IN 1964.
(GRAY SCAFFOLDING AT GROUND LEVEL; IN THE MIDST OF BRICK REPAIRS AGAIN.)
We are back in Sevilla, happy to be home and with a bad case of jet lag. My mother, the Dowager Duchess, surprised us yet again by deciding that, at the age of 84, she wanted to purchase her first computer. She said she was inspired to get one so we could do video Skype calls every week. So, our first day in Brooklyn, we took her (along with my brother Chuck) to Best Buy where I helped her select a laptop with a large monitor. She then decided she’d also like to have a printer. I called the cable company to install a line for her and they were able to do so the day before we left.
|FROM THE AGE OF 10, I LIVED 17 FLOORS UP (6 FLOORS FROM THE TOP)l|
Since the modem needed to plug into her phone and since the newest of the four phones in the apartment was 25 years old (one phone has a rotary dial), I had to run down to the store (luckily, there’s a Radio Shack across the street) and buy new phones while the installer was running the cable. I had a lot to try and teach the Dowager Duchess in our last day and a half. Computer, printer/scanner/copier, phone with digital answering machine. I wrote up around 10 individual pages of instructions, such as “How to Turn On/Off Computer,” “How to Read Email,” “How to Send Email,” “How to Create a Microsoft Word Document,” “How to Skype,” etc. Jerry suggested we get her some type of “Computing for Dummies” book. She hates the series simply because she doesn’t like to think of herself as a dummy and she finds the title offensive, but I told her how helpful the books are, so we’re going to order one for her.
|ON THE WAY TO STARBUCK’S ON BRIGHTON BEACH AVENUE, OUR LAST MORNING IN BROOKLYN.|
I am a Mac user. My mother bought an HP PC. I used a PC at one job for a few years, but I’m much better with a Mac, so figuring things out and then teaching my mother was challenging. I’m a good teacher but not when I’m clueless. The Dowager Duchess took a computing class in college about 10 years ago, so recognized some things, but hasn’t had any practical experience. She doesn’t want to take another computing class now at the college because she said they go into much more technical detail than she wants or needs. So, she thought she’d take the computing class offered at her local Senior Center where she goes weekly for a painting studio. Ironically, the Center’s computers got attacked by a virus and the class has been canceled.
|OUR LAST VISIT TO STARBUCK’S FOR A WHILE.|
I hope it all doesn’t overwhelm the Dowager Duchess and I look forward to our first weekly Skype video call this Sunday. Chuck, with his learning problems and limited reading skills, is amazing with technology (and a lot of other things as well). He intuitively knows how to work the Duchess’s mobile phone (and once at my request showed her where to place it in relation to her ear so she could actually hear me when I called). Chuck is an ace at his Nintendo games. I have a feeling he’ll figure out the computer and printer without the help of any books.
|THE VIEW FROM THE KITCHEN JUST BEFORE WE LEFT FOR THE AIRPORT.
THAT’S THE OCEAN WE WERE ABOUT TO CROSS.
Considering my concerns, I was amazed to find — when we landed in Barcelona last night and I turned on my smartphone — an email message waiting for us from the Dowager Duchess telling us she missed us and welcoming us home to Spain. She’s just full of surprises.
|A VERY DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD.
JERRY AND MARGARITA, SEEN FROM OUR LIVING ROOM IN SEVILLA.