Living Grand: Lucille Netzel

Lucille Netzel has a big family.

She raised eight children, and as those kids started to raise kids of their own, the Clintonville, WI, resident found it wasn’t always easy to keep in touch. She had a cell phone she could use pretty well, but she never learned to use a computer. That meant email was out, and unless someone wanted to print and mail a picture, so was sharing photos of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Then Lucille, who turned 91 in August, received a GrandPad from her granddaughter, and the device has changed the way she connects with her family. She can email now, and she can make and receive voice and video calls. In fact, she prefers calling on her GrandPad to using the flip phone she still keeps on hand.

“I use it all the time for calling,” she said. “I talk to my family more now than I did before because they send me pictures, too,” said Netzel. “I have a lot of nieces and nephews who call and talk, and I have friends I call.”

Lucille’s family is spread out around Wisconsin and across the country. Her oldest son and oldest daughter live in Montana, and she has grandchildren and great-grandchildren there whom she doesn’t see very often. Fortunately, GrandPad has given her a way to keep in touch with her large and growing family. Netzel had eight children, and each of them had three or four kids.

Lucille’s daughter Lisa Romberg believes having a GrandPad has made it easier to stay connected with her mother. The calls are nice, but she also appreciates that she can send text messages when she has information that doesn’t require a full phone call.

“This way I have a choice,” Romberg said. “I can call and have a conversation if I want, but if I just need a quick reminder of something, I can send her a message. It just makes it easier.”

The photos, messages, and calls Lucille receives on her GrandPad have become an important connection to the world. She likes to read, preferably autobiographies and books by authors like Nora Roberts. She watches some TV, but only if she can find classic shows. Her GrandPad has been a great complement to those entertainment options. Beyond calls, it gives here access to games, music and news updates. Her family just helped her sign up for Facebook to complement the photos she receives through the family photo stream on GrandPad. That’s as far as she plans to go with social media, though. She’s worried about the scams and other dangers she might run into outside the secure environment of her GrandPad.

“I live alone, and the GrandPad is company,” she said. “I can’t always see my family. A lot of them live down by Milwaukee and it’s a long way away. This way some of them send me a video call and I see them. I like to talk to them because days get long sometimes when you don’t have anyone to talk to.”