Glen Cove resident Frank Meiners learned how to turn on a computer Friday. His clear blue eyes navigated the desktop. He grew addicted as he dragged the mouse to eagerly click, then double-clicked the playing cards in the strategic game of Solitaire.
Meiners, 59, is and always has been a man that preferred to work with his bare hands. As both a house painter and golf instructor, he never considered working from home until Feb. 7, 2011, when he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and hospitalized for four months.
“I realized if I couldn’t paint, that computer skills would help,” said Meiners, who spent a month in rehabilitation at a nursing home. The experience frightened him, and the more he thought about his situation, the more he realized that computer skills would benefit all aspects of his life.
“We’ll move forward,” he said, referring to his parents and himself. “My father’s sick and she [Meiner’s mother] needs help for health care.”
By learning basic computer skills, Meiners believes it will make life easier for his parents if they can research the type of care his father needs.
With clear articulation and humor, Angela Bitsimis, an instructor from Sharper Training Solutions, taught 14 adults in the Glen Cove Public Library, including Meiners, about the fundamentals of using a computer. She began with the history, followed by the terminology then the use of computers.
The library has hosted adult computer classes two to three times a year for over five years. Glen Cove Public Library patrons pay $7 per class.
Those attending Friday’s program “Computer Kindergarten for Grownups” ranged from 40- to 90-year-olds. Bitsimis said the most popular reasons for adults wanting to learn are to reach grandchildren via email or Skype and to book travel arrangements.
“Cruise or airline companies are telling them to do it online now,” said Bitsimis about her students booking traveling tickets, “It’s almost out of necessity.”
Mary Columbia, 67, a retired resident of Glen Cove, did not have much of a choice when it came to taking the class because she was unable to apply for part-time positions at Glen Cove Hospital and the local Stop and Shop.
“They both told me that I needed to have computer applications,” said Columbia, who thought her 27 years of experience at King Kullen would have spoken for itself.
“You think you can walk around and ignore it but you can’t.”