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  • Nancy Spear

“…he gave me the exact address of his childhood home.”

I work with several residents at a senior living facility. There are my regulars but about a month ago, a new resident wanted to see me. He walked in, told me he was hard of hearing and leaned his cane on the table behind us.

He said he’d used a computer before but was a little rusty. We went over the basics of using the mouse and navigated to the browser.

I asked if he wanted to look at the news. No. Sports? No. Hmm, I thought, and went to my go-to favorite. Where are you from? He said New York. I typed in “NY historical photos.” Up popped black and white photos from the city.

Very quiet up to this point, he sat up and said, “No, not the city” and gave me the name of his town on Long Island. I asked a few more questions and whittled it down to the exact address of his childhood home.

I showed him how to enter the address in the search bar and then click Images. Up popped several thumbnails. I clicked on one that had an apartment.

He leaned forward, took his glasses off, and rubbed his eyes. “Is that it?,” I asked. He was quiet for what seemed like a long time. Just as I was going to repeat my question, he turned to me and said, “Hell, yeah!”

He had been relatively quiet up to this point but right then the words starting pouring out. He pointed to the window that he looked out of as a boy. He told me it was in that apartment that his family had their first refrigerator; his two sisters were old enough to work so they could afford it. His face lit up.

There had been a movie theater nearby, he told me. We searched again and found it. He nodded and grinned.

Soon our 30 minutes were up. He thanked me and I told him I would send him detailed instructions on how to turn the computer on and how to search on his own.

As I drove to my next client and throughout the day, I would remember his “Hell, yeah!,” and smile. It made my week.

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