Skyping with The Duchess and Kid Brother

Throughout the year, I skype weekly with My Mother The Dowager Duchess and Her Other Son The Kid Brother. Fall and winter, we skype every Sunday because The Kid Brother bowls on Saturday. During summer, we skype every Saturday because The Kid Brother plays softball in Central Park on Sunday. It has always been all about him, you know.


On his free day, The Kid Brother takes the bus to visit The Duchess. She loads him up with food (to eat while he’s there and to take home). I comment that she really shouldn’t do that because he’s supposed to be living independently. But, well, she’s a mother. The duo “just chill,” as The Kid Brother would say, for a couple of hours. We skype for an hour, beginning precisely at 11:00, or The Kid Brother will have something to say about it. (If I dial in at 11:01, the first comment is “You’re late!” 10:59? “You’re early.”)  After our call they head out for lunch. At 12 noon on the dot. Or, again, The Kid Brother will have something to say about it. He’s a bit of a stickler.


The Duchess took a computing class years ago, but didn’t have a computer until December 2011. She’s become pretty incredible. She now even sits up high enough in her chair when we skype so I can see more than just the top of her head. The kid brother is a natural with any technology. He connects to Skype every week and he’ll answer on his own if I call before The Duchess is in the room.


The Duchess has a very kind next-door neighbor who is a musician and music teacher. He asked her if he could store a few string instruments in her apartment for the summer. Of course she said yes. She’s got plenty of space. She ended up with a collection of violins, violas, a cello, and more. Every time we skype, if the light is not quite right, it looks like a veiled woman has joined the conversation.

One of these days, I’ll have to get The Duchess to hold up her hands. Last week, her nails were orange. Some time back, they were metallic green. She and Slushie (click here) would get along well, I think.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

20 thoughts on “Skyping with The Duchess and Kid Brother”

  1. Always in the background! You know 'the ropes' Mitch!
    Nice that you have this regular contact with family. One question: Kid brother doesn't have gray hair like his Big Brother? Must be the light!!
    Your Mom looks happy and good that you can her face now.

  2. Yay for Skype! I've never used it for a personal reason, but we used it at school to interview two of our current department members, one while she was living in Mexico, and one while he was living in California. Great help!

    I love seeing the family photos, Mitchell!

    1. Judeet:
      Skype has been a life-saver with our families. I never used it for interviewing at work, but it would have been a tremendous help. I'm glad I get to use it just for fun though!

  3. When I was in grade school in the 50s several times we saw a movie in science class. It had predictions about the future. Well, we don't have the cars that fly through the air, but we do have skype! It's wonderful for people who live so far apart. Your mother and brother look very happy to be talking to you, and you look happy too. Can't quite get the expression on Lady Cello. Must be the veil……

    1. Kristi:
      Whenever I use my smart phone, I think of Dick Tracy's two-way wrist radios. Six two and even over and out…

      Lady Cello (love it) does make me a bit uncomfortable. She's always watching… silently…

  4. The Beautiful DD and her handsome sons. Skype is a great way to 'get together' for a catch-up. It's the way I keep up to date with my boys – there's a big problem with ours though, I get to see their handsome faces, while they, poor things see some wrinkled and grey-haired old woman, I haven't a clue who she is – but she barges in every time.

    Lovely photos!

    1. Elaine:
      I've seen your pictures. You are beautiful and the boys are blessed to be able to see your face! As for gray, I thought your hair was platinum blond. But I know what you mean about someone else barging in. I have the same feeling (and I never much like what I saw in the first place). My mother still talks about looking in the mirror and not recognizing the reflection. My brother has the right idea. He doesn't look!

  5. Technology is a wonderful thing. How nice that you can keep in touch like that. If we were told 20 years ago that we could make these video calls, for free, over a thing called the internet, nobody would have believed us.
    Your Mum looks fab and good on her for being so savvy with the computer.

    1. Craig:
      My mother's willingness to constantly challenge herself and learn new things is an inspiration. At 86, she's got more energy than we have. It's amazing to consider what we now take for granted. My sister died in '81. I always imagine how completely lost she would be if she tried to understand this modern world!

    1. Stephen:
      My father was in management with NY Telephone from the time it was still part of AT&T. We had free phone service! It was quite a shock when he died and my mother had to start paying. Sp grateful to Skype!

  6. Skype! I haven't got my head around Skype yet. I should get onto it. I'm just being lazy. Love the family photos, Mitch, especially the bird on head one!

  7. Somehow I missed when you posted this… I love it when folks post photos and such about their families. We don't Skype but should… our great-grandkids grow so fast. Funny too because Evie, who isn't yet 2 years old already knows to look into the phone to talk to everyone… that is, everyone but me 🙁

    1. Sharon:
      Our 3-year-old great nephew sat with his dad's smart phone and played games (and went from game to game on his own) while we talked. San Geraldo (who can't even figure out how to answer my smart phone) was in awe.

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