Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

I have never been so grateful for my iPhone, Steve Jobs, and Zoom!

by Julie Zipperer


Before the lockdown, it seemed my family and I only got together once a year on the beach in Sarasota. In March, when the lockdown hit, we all started meeting on Zoom. And I mean all, from my mom, dad, two brothers, and sister to my three nieces and, yes, even my husband, all hunkering down in our own little bubbles. We came together for an hour every Sunday.

On the second Sunday, Dad called me three minutes before our meeting and asked, “Now, how do I get on?” Talking him through accessing Zoom on his computer became a ritual every Sunday. Actually, I started calling him 10 minutes early each Sunday to make sure he and Mom were ready to get on and see their kids and grandkids. Before I knew it, I was calling even earlier. It was just Dad and me on Zoom for 20 to 30 minutes before the rest of the family popped in.

He was so excited each weekend to tell me about what he’d found on YouTube or some great story he’d read on the internet that opened his world. He saw old episodes of Hee Haw and educational shows on Indian arrowheads (his passion). He was amazed. I was the lucky one to get this time together, just he and I.

With COVID in full bloom and the lockdown happening, Dad couldn’t go to Best Buy to see the Geek Squad when he had computer or phone problems. I spent four days Zooming or FaceTiming with him, walking him through how to reset my mom’s iPhone password.

ME: Dad, do you see the grey wheel-looking icon?

DAD: (No answer)

ME: Dad, what do you see?

DAD: (No answer)

He was just staring at his screen, so I took a picture of my screen, circled in red what I wanted him to see, numbered the photo #1, and sent it to him.

DAD: Wow, how did you do that? Oh, you circled the app for me to click on, but it won’t open it.

ME: Dad, are you clicking on the app or the picture I sent you?

As soon as we worked that out, I repeated this process, sending him photos with circles and arrows. Finally, after a few hours each day for four days straight, we got my mom’s password changed.

He called one day. His wireless printer had stopped working. After hours of FaceTiming, we were able to uninstall and re-install his printer software, and it worked! He thought I was a genius. I told him that Steve Jobs made me smarter.

Three days later, August 12th, he fell and passed away the next day.

I am a lucky kid. I am so grateful that I got to spend the extra time with my Dad, working through technical things. We got through it together with love and patience. Now, I have to FaceTime with my mom and walk her through turning off the flashlight on her iPhone!