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Home  >  Family and Community  >  Family Collections  >  Barnett
Grandma Rosalee Gets a Computer
By Curt Larson, Katelyn's uncle

Joyce learned the art of storytelling from her mother, Rosalee Larson, who told stories to her as a child. Recently Rosalee Larson has been recording those stories she used to tell on a computer that Joyce's brother, Curt, and his wife, Peg, set up for Rosalee.

* * *

Some years ago my mom mentioned to my wife Peg, and myself, that that she could no longer see well enough to use her typewriter. (That must have been before she had her cataracts removed … now she can see any speck of dirt anywhere, even in poor light!) I think we might have asked whether she could see well enough to keep in touch with relatives and old friends in handwriting. She said that everyone is now so old, and her handwriting so poor, that she didn't think people could read it very well. And besides, she had always used a typewriter. That was how she liked to keep in touch. She doesn't use the telephone. The written word, for her purpose, has a quality to communicate in a way perhaps more lasting or thoughtful than the telephone. Peg and I could tell she was quite disappointed.

Rosalee Larson
Peg immediately said, "How about a computer? You can make the font as big as you need … and as big as the other person needs!"

Mom was predictable. "Oh, gosh," she replied. "That's for you young folks. I don't want a computer."

Finally Peg and I pointed out that it was either a computer … or nothing. And most importantly Peg pointed out that she could make the computer work just like a typewriter. That was of course an exaggeration … but it worked! We got her an old Boeing surplus computer that booted up in DOS. We taught her to type in "win" at the "C prompt" and, with time, Mom progressed further and faster than we ever thought she would. She writes letters to old friends and uses the Internet and e-mail. She even plays computer games! I especially appreciate the stories from her life that she wrote … stories that she had told before … but which, when written, have an added quality that I like.

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