My Grandpa is hipper than me.

1 Apr

I find buying presents for grandparents difficult. What do you buy someone that has everything they need, and if they don’t have it, they buy it for themselves? So for many Christmases past, my doting Grandfather has received woollen socks, slippers and single malt scotch from me. Original, I know.

In some ways my Grandpa is that perfectly stereo-typical grandfather. World War II veteran, spoils his grandchildren, enjoys boats and fishing, he even used to smoke a pipe. But in others he’s a little, ‘different’.

Not happy to just retire happily from a life spent as a town planner, he is forever on the campaign trail. A card carrying member of the Nationals, President of his local Lions Club and prolific ‘Letters to the Editor’ contributor in the Australian and Sydney Morning Herald. He’s a believer in Tertiary education, and opposed to pretty much everything else. Mobile phone towers, graffiti, huge marinas and the new development on Sydney Harbour. Never get him started on immigrants, asians or aboriginals; you’ll want to punch him out, and beating an old man is frowned upon.

So when my Aunt suggested we all chip in for an Ipad for his Christmas gift last year, I laughed. Hysterically. My 84 year old Grandpa using an Ipad when he can’t turn on a computer? Ridiculous. But my Aunt stood her ground, and argued that the Ipad was perfect for him. With only one button needed to turn it on, touch-screen ease, it’s portable and most importantly for him, you can zoom in easily. Newspapers were coming impossible to read without the need of a magnifying lens, and he isn’t ever ready to leave the house without reading the Aus front to back.

Grandpa on Christmas Day

So it was decided, Grandpa was to get an Ipad. Before me. Incredulous. Boxing day was devoted to teaching him how to use it, tentative at first about the ‘complexity’ of the slide bar, after he got the basics he was like a kid in a candy store. We downloaded all the news and weather apps for him, loaded some photos and his favourite music (Sinatra, for the record) and left him to play.

I was worried that it would become a very expensive desk ornament, but he uses it every morning to read the news and the check the weather. Seeing his face when I showed him the weather radar on BOM, was a touching moment. I imagine an african tribe seeing a television for the first time would be similar. Now when it’s pouring with rain at his house, he logs on and sees how long it will last for, no need to cancel the Lions Markets just because it was raining in the morning.

Now he submits his letters to the SMH and AUS via email each week, and he’s ecstatic how quickly he can get a reply from a Council, Planning Authority or person about an ‘issue’ he’s raised with them. Campaigns that used to take him weeks of physical letters back and forward, are now settled within a few days, much to my Nanna’s delight.

There is a serious message in this fun story though, if even my Grandpa is turning away from traditional newspapers and using online media, what hope is there left for newspapers?

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One Response to “My Grandpa is hipper than me.”

  1. Rachel Packham April 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    I like your blog Grace! Your Grandpa is definitely hipper than mine. They’d probably enjoy discussing immigrants together though.

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