Google Earth: “More intoxicating than alcohol”

google My parents have been getting behind on their emailing. Let’s be honest: they aren’t using the computer we got them for Christmas at all. So during my visit yesterday, we cranked the old machine up and checked for new email. We were about to start writing some quick emails to family, when Big Brother and I started talking about the new Google Earth Ocean application that has been mentioned in the media so much lately. Trying to describe what Google Earth is and how it works is pretty silly when you have it right there in front of you, so we pulled it up and began snooping around the world.

We began by searching Jello Dad’s boyhood town of Chillicothe, Ohio.  I cannot even begin to describe how fascinating it was for my father, who will be 85 in April, to be able to visit his hometown again. He used to go to his high school reunions, but hasn’t been back there in years. But he remembers every single alley and every corner store. We probably spent about 2 hours looking for so-and-so’s house, for the corner store where my uncle sold ice cream, for Mount Logan School, for the alley he cut through to get to school each day, and home for lunch.

At one point my mother said “You haven’t touched your sherry.” ( I do not make this up. I could not make this up!) At which point, my father said, “This is more intoxicating than alcohol!”

And what’s even better, it was the first time my father has been truly motivated to learn how to navigate, and use the mouse. (When we first set up the laptop for them to use in their living room, he asked me all sorts of questions before he would let me show him how to access his email: “What is ‘Firefox’? I thought you said we were using Verizon. Why are we paying Verizon if we can use Firefox?”) But last night, there he was using the mouse, and even the touchpad of the laptop, all on his own. And on those inevitable times when he accidentally minimized the window or clicked on the wrong place and brought something else up — he calmly said “Uh …. I don’t know what I’ve done here.” A quick fix of whatever the problem was, and he was right back at it!

If you haven’t checked out Google Earth yet — what are you waiting for? My dad’s way ahead of you!



  1. Ah….I love this. I wish my relationship with my parents was like this. We can hope you found the fire that lights his interest in using the computer…

  2. great post! i have been in the position a couple times with someone older sitting at the computer being amazed with the internet and all it has to offer. none of them ever turned down a drink though!! LOL

  3. Lisa, no fooling around — this is “serious” stuff!

    Tom T, I think this might be the hook for Dad. He’ll still need someone to get him started, but then — look out!

    Donald —I certainly had a drink (or 2) while this was going on!

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