In July 2014 my father Newton who is 95 ‘and a half’, (as he says), went to live in aged care accommodation in a beautiful town on the North Coast of NSW in Australia in order to be close to my sister.
He wasn’t there because he had dementia or was bed ridden or anything like that. He was there because as he was ‘getting on a bit’, it was considered better for him to be in a place where professional people like doctors and nurses could keep a watch out for him every day.
There he became friends with an Englishman, Peter.
One day Peter, who is 90, told Newton he had a younger brother, Hugh, who is 84 and who lived in England. Peter said that over the years he and Hugh had spoken to each other on the ‘phone however they had not seen each other face to face, so to speak, for such a very, long time. He didn’t tell Newton how long that was. He also told Newton, “I won’t ever see him again – unless a miracle happens!”
That night Newton hatched a plan to try and make that miracle happen for his friend.
His plan was to use his ipad to connect Peter with Hugh on Skype – if Hugh was on Skype too.
Newton told Peter his plan and asked him for Hugh’s email address.
Newton emailed Hugh and asked, “Hugh, are you on Skype?”
Hugh replied, “Yes”
Newton asked Hugh, “Would you like to see your brother Peter?”
Hugh answered, “Yes, of course!”
Newton said, “Well, let’s do it.”
At first a few minor technical problems thwarted the miracle. However, a week or so later, at seven o’ clock one Tuesday evening in December just before Christmas, in a bedroom in a small country town in Australia, and at the same time at eight o’clock in the morning of the same day, in a bedroom somewhere in England, two brothers, Peter and Hugh, sat in front of computer screens and saw each other for the very first time in thirty seven years.
Photo of my father Newton (left) and Peter.
Photo by Sharon, Aged Care facility staff.
Images used with permission.