My Grandmother is on twitter. Not in the conventional sense.. kicking back with a Macbook Pro, tweetdeck running on a separate screen.
No, my Nonna only really geeks out on her sewing machine. It’s the only tech she can really operate with confidence. With everything else it’s “Computer says no..” She can’t really operate the home phone if she has to use more than one button. Yet through me.. whenever I’m visiting and occasionally over the phone, She tweets.
It started during the inauguration of Obama. I twitter-quoted a couple of her comments as we were watching the TV and someone said.. “your Gran needs her own account.”
Why not I thought. She is always saying what she thinks and I wish people were sometimes there to hear it. Then there are the times She gives me tidbits of her past that I’m desperate to remember but never write down. Twitter would be perfect for these times.. Not only to live blog her thoughts and past when I’m visiting, but also to give her that window to the world.
She is now answering questions and asking me about the people behind the avatars. She doesn’t know what an avatar is, and I know the technology baffles her. It just makes me happy that as She is engaged in this new adventure, she forgets she is an 85 year old lady living alone, waiting to die.
When she lost her daughter, my Mother, last year I noticed a rapid decline in her will to do anything. She blamed herself, God, anything for the hand she felt she was dealt, forgetting all that was good about her life, her family. She started to give up.
Occasionally this now changes. When her failing mind reminds her, she will still ask me if ‘those people on the computer’ have asked her any questions. I get my laptop out and we sit there going through her replies. She is now even keeping her answers short and concise watching me as I type them in.. Aware that 140 characters is not long enough for a life story. Especially a life as crazy as hers has been. And she forgets all she is sad about. It’s as if I have suddenly invited a hundred people into her home and she is momentarily worried she does not have enough biscuits to go round.
Twitter is becoming a micro diary of facts and figures, memories and moments in a woman’s life that I have known all of mine. Yet much of what she is talking about I have never heard. My Granddad was the story teller. My Nonna his obedient wife, helper and eventually nurse.
Now it’s her stories.. and they tell me of a strong independent lady who has experienced far more than I could ever have imagined.
She may not update regularly, but when she does, her straining short term memory takes a break as we smile our way through tales of times gone by, adventures and a childhood still fresh in her mind.
These are my favorite times with my Grandmother. Thank You to all those who have engaged with her. you make an Old lady, and her grandson, very happy.
My Gran is @Granumentally
I am @Documentally
I made this video back in may 2007 to send to my Brother @DannyPayne
UPDATE: Here is a segment with me and my Gran on the CBC programme ‘Spark’