Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs' Impact on My 92-Year-Old Mother

I was going to post Mrs. Johnson's fried chicken recipe today, as promised. But after Steve Jobs' passing this week, I have another story to tell.

Upon hearing the sad news, I started thinking about the impact Jobs and the Apple products he oversaw have had on my life. My mind immediately went to digital video.

Back in 1999, after Jobs' return to Apple, the company introduced the iMac DV. It was a graphite edition of the fruit-colored iMacs that was geared especially for creating and editing digital video (hence the DV in its name). I'd been thinking of trying my hand at digital video for some time, but I was always put off by how cumbersome the process seemed on Windows computers. When the iMac DV was announced, my hesitation was over. I bought one and my first-ever camcorder, a Sony digital video recorder, in early 2000.

A year later, I used the video camera to record my mother, Ruth, in her home, talking about her antiques and her crazy collections, which include tractor seats, potato mashers, pie birds, clocks, old potato chip cans, Mrs. Butterworth bottles, and over 100 Raggedy Ann dolls. Five years later, my mother was suffering from Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia (it's hard to be sure which). The video I shot is a record of Ruth before her dementia began, and of the house we grew up in, as it was when she lived there. (Later, my sisters and I had to move her into an Alzheimer's facility and sell her house.)

Along with shooting video, I also became proficient at editing video. My father, a photographer, had taken many home movies over the years, and I had a number of them digitized. From that footage, I created several 'greatest hits' video productions and gave copies to my family at Christmas.

During a recent visit with Ruth, she asked me many times to show her pictures of her husband, because she can't remember what he looked like. Having anticipated this, I had loaded one of my home movie productions on my iPad. I sat next to Ruth while she watched footage of the farm where she grew up, of her parents during the 1940s, of my father and her in the 1950s, of their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, of her kids during the 60s and beyond.

After the video was over, my mother turned to me, happier than I'd seen her in a long time. "Thank you so much for showing me those movies!," she said.

And thank you, Steve Jobs, for the technology that made it all possible.

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33 comments:

  1. He was indeed a great visionary. He touched everyone in so many ways.


    The cranky Old Man

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  2. Thank you for sharing this story.

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  3. nice story, for me Mr Jobs still inspiring...

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  4. This is adorable!! Mr. Jobs definitely had an unprecedented impact in the recent history of technology (and, I dare to say, of the World consequently). Thank you so much for sharing.I wish you and your mother many happy moments more. Greetings from New Haven, CT.

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  5. Hi - I had a very similar experience. My 70 year old father finds it very difficult to work a PC..... then he got his hands on my Ipad and it was like he had discovered the elixir of youth. Whole new worlds at his finger tips. The Ipad is so instinctive that children and older people really benefit from it. Best to your Mom.

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  6. Looks like you made a huge impact, for you being introduced in Blogs of note.
    Congratulations!!

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  7. Congratulations on your BoN.
    As an expat San Franciscan, I'm sort of looking forward to see what you have to say about The City.

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  8. Thank you for sharing. That is an example of technology at it's very best.

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  9. OK, the first thing that caught me eye, was the profile picture. "OMG, it's the old rebel!" I grew up in Greensboro, NC and was on his show. Now I blog as a southerner in Boston. And actually include his show in a post.

    Congratulations on your BON!

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  10. A wonderful story. How wonderful that you were able to show those to your mother.

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  11. Very, very awesome...I'm really glad you had that experience.

    -JD

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  12. That's really quite a story. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's, so I know firsthand how magical that day must've seemed to both you and your mother.

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  13. I heard people are leaving apples with bites in them by his doorstep, and a quick google search gets a lot of cool memorial stuff. Also props for being featured!

    Holy shameless self-promoting sig batman!
    http://Chronic-chronicles-of-my-life.blogspot.com/

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  14. So ... your blog popped up in my Recent Blogs of Note section. A southerner in San Francisco?! I don't know anything about San Francisco, but I am all kinds of southern, so I checked it out. Cheerwine? I love Cheerwine! Krispy Kreme? I love Krispy Kreme! A mint muddler? Love me some mojitos! And, honey, I am BIG on the Pig. So excited to see what's up next.

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  15. Adorable story. So cute that your grandmother was able to see videos like that. God bless.

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  16. I love this story. It is really really sweet and I'm so glad that you have that memory of your mom.

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  17. Congratulations for being the Blog of Note at Google. I see that dedication to a project, has its great advantages. Enjoy this great moment and let us know your experience. Then the direction of my blog someday also received this recognition. www.bigxy.com Best Regards. -José.

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  18. Your page is so fantastic!I truly liked your most recent story. I think it is best to post far more typically, you clearly have all-natural capacity for blogging!

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  19. Love the post. The impact that Steve Jobs had on all of our lives has been far reaching. The example you gave was not only touching but very poignant.

    Susan Cooper

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  20. DESDE.. TLAXCALA. LE AGRADESCO. A STEVE JOBS POR LA TECNOLOGIA QUE HIZO POSIBLE.

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  21. thank you for sharing this touching story. :)

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  22. What a great story. Both my grandmothers learned to use computers on an iMac. That's a legacy in itself. :)

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  23. Yeah but....I want to SEE the video... =)

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  24. AMEN! May he rest in peace. Thank you for a touching story!

    Amanda

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  25. Your story is heart warming and I truly believe that Steve Jobs contributed so much to this world.

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  26. I was about to congratulate you on your Blog of Note but then I should rather congratulate yer mum on getting to 92 years old. That's brilliant!!

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  27. What a great experience! Alzheimers is a terrible illness and the little things like that help make it more bearable. Thanks for sharing! A very worthy blog of note!

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  28. I happened upon this just surfing around. I also starting editing videos with ease thanks to Apple tech. We have often wished we had recorded Mom before dementia set in. So much love and knowledge we should have saved to savor now. Bittersweet congratulations that you did what we wish we had done.

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  29. Does your mother remember better when she's reminded via video of past events? Just curious.
    I R Ignorant. What is a pie bird?

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  30. Wow, what a story, what a moment that must have been. I am so moved by you sharing such a memory with me. Yes, Steve Jobs will be missed, the man was very ill and at least he's at peace now. ♥

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