88: Milk Lady

88: Milk Lady

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Milk Lady

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

~Arthur C. Clarke

“Here comes the Milk Lady,” my roommate said as my mom walked up the porch steps, lugging a gallon of milk. Mom came twice a week to my college house to use my computer. As she believed my roommate and I weren’t eating properly, the milk was her contribution to our wellbeing.

My mother owned an ancient manual typewriter. But when I started high school, she bought me an electric typewriter. She proudly announced, “This will last you all the way through college!”

Well, it lasted through eleventh grade, anyway. Then my mother bought me a Tandy computer. “Now this will last you all the way through college,” she said.

Next, she wanted me to teach her how to use that computer.

Back when I was five, I had asked my mother to teach me how to read. I was determined to sit on the couch until I’d mastered reading. Now my mother was coming to me with twenty-five years of scientific research, complete with chemical equations, and she wanted to summarize it on my computer right then.

I owed her one, so we got started. This was a situation where technology did not make life easier. Mom was furious with the cursor. It was never where she thought it should be.

After a couple of hours of her struggle I suggested, “Why don’t you come back on another day and I’ll help you some more?”

And thus began my mother’s twice a week visits. She’d bring us a gallon of milk and I’d tutor her for an hour on the computer. Gradually I retreated from looking over her shoulder and got back to my French homework, merely in the same room in case she had a question.

I should mention that tutoring my mom on the computer was one of the best investments of my time in college. By the end of my sophomore year she said, “You need a better computer. This Tandy is too slow. You need to upgrade.” She kept me in the latest computers through graduate school.

Now Mom has her own cottage industry making greeting cards on her laptop from pictures she takes with her digital camera.

As for me, I’m still reading. And I drink my milk. Thanks, Mom.

~C. J. Godwin

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