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Changing Lanes: Exploring my Internet woes

SPRINGVILLE — Being grandparents is a non-paying job, but you can reap great personal benefits. You wouldn’t think you could lose such a job so easily to the Internet.

Emmy and I have impressed our out-of-state grandchildren with our Bigfoot truck camper, for years. The kids enjoyed staying in the camper with us when we came for visits, even while it was parked in their own driveway.

The camper is like a fort to them, as it is to us. Grandma Emmy has games and toys for them and grandpa will play a favorite movie with the old-fashioned on-board electronics.

As a 4-year-old, my grandson was enthralled with the camper, which has a doughboy-like decal on the side. When we went to the beach, he would sculpt sand castles that looked like the Bigfoot. He would try, over and over again, to get it just right.

Our granddaughter began sending us emails, a year or so ago. She was, however, sporadic in her replies, as she has been with responses to our snail mail. As my grandson matured, I looked forward to emails from him.

Emmy and I use the RV mostly as our living quarters, when we travel to arts and craft shows. We are more likely to be parked behind a major show venue or on the back lawn of the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, than in a rustic campground. This year, we bought a motor home to replace our tiny, slide-in Bigfoot.

The truck camper’s actual usable floor area is smaller than 2-by-8 feet. We had to maintain a “one person on the floor at a time” rule, because we would have collisions and resulting disagreements, in the small camper.

There are many advantages to owning our (to us) new motor-home. For a class “C” motor home, it is small, only 26 feet long, but, to us, it is large as a gymnasium, compared to our old camper.

The new contraption was made by the same manufacturer as our truck camper and also has the Bigfoot logo emblazoned on the side and the nickname “Bigfoot.” One reason we spent thousands of dollars for the new RV was to surprise our grand kids with a larger version of the same logo.

We recently visited our grand kids and their parents near Boston, Mass., surprising them with the “new” Bigfoot. We took the kids to a small Massachusetts campground with a sandy beach and playground.

We stayed a full day and night and the kids seemed to have a great time, again. They didn’t have to be home until that evening, so we asked them what they wanted to do for the rest of the second day. They wanted to go home.

Both of them missed their computers. We have no Internet in the camper. A full day away from computer games was more than they could bear. Grandma, Grandpa and the Bigfoot no longer held their interest for days at a time.

My son Jon spent a lot of time on the computer, growing up pre-Internet. We had an Atari™ first and then got a Commodore 64.

He excelled in computer-related studies and now makes a good living working for Intel™. The most I understand is that he tests computer chips. He also flies around the world, to various Intel facilities.

I can see why Jon would condone his kids’ Internet games and computer use; computers have done very well for him.

I, however, long for the good old days when my grand kids could email or instant message us.


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