Older folks are reconnecting with friends, family online — now it’s your turn (st. Petersburg Times)

Grandparents Bob and Karen Jodal of Seminole and great-grandmother Pat Gloeckner wouldn’t miss this birthday: Little Paige turned 1 in Dallas on April 4 and they shared in the celebration with family, including Paige’s mom and dad, Jen and Scott Taylor, using Skype for video, visible on their television, right, as well as on their computer.

Grandparents Bob and Karen Jodal of Seminole and great-grandmother Pat Gloeckner wouldn’t miss this birthday: Little Paige turned 1 in Dallas on April 4 and they shared in the celebration with family, including Paige’s mom and dad, Jen and Scott Taylor, using Skype for video, visible on their television, right, as well as on their computer.

[CHRIS ZUPPA | Times]

By Bob Andelman

Special to the Times
In Print: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mom’s putting the birthday girl’s highchair in place. Nervous excitement buzzes with the growing chatter of two dozen children and adults.

Redheaded Paige is plopped into her seat, grinning broadly, ready to be the center of attention on her first birthday.

And she is, across a thousand miles and two living rooms.

As Paige is served a chunk of pink frosted birthday cake as big as her head and everybody sings Happy Birthday in Dallas, her grandparents and great-grandmother in Seminole are part of the fun and can be seen and heard in Texas, singing along.

Paige giggles and grabs her cake with both hands, delightedly smearing her face.

Bob Jodal, 60, his wife, Karen, 59, and her 84-year-old mother, Pat Gloeckner, shared in this family milestone this month, keeping in touch with remarkable technology that’s not limited to kids anymore. They use Skype, an easy-to-use online video conference service that has enriched their lives.

Technology can only do so much, though. Paige’s father, Scott Taylor, is so tall that he is seen only as a yellow shirt in the computer monitor. And there’s the matter of that cake.

“Hey, Jen,” Bob asks his daughter and Paige’s mom, “would you have Scott fax us a piece of cake?”

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