I wasn’t sure what to expect when Dana and I had our first phone call back in late March. Teresa, our Digital Dividends Program Manager, had shared a little with me… about Dana’s dry sense of humor, bits of stories from a full life, and that he’d recently been having some health struggles. Yet, after an hour of chatting, it became clear to me, despite his insistence that he wasn’t ‘special’ and had a lifetime of ‘uninteresting jobs,’ Dana was indeed a unique and fascinating individual who would forever leave an indelible impression on me.
Dana was born in Boston 73 years ago. He went to the University of Michigan and majored in art history. Soon after graduating, Dana built a boat himself and using a sextant to navigate, sailed it to Bermuda, the West Indies, and the U.S Virgin Islands. He learned about other cultures while living on his boat and working at a shipyard on St. John next to a hotel owned by Rockefeller. For more than 20 years of his life, Dana went to Thailand every six months, where he enjoyed visiting temples and going to clubs to dance. Dana’s time away from the U.S. made him genuinely appreciate Boston and all it has to offer, and after being ‘gone for years,’ he returned home and has been here since.
Dana told me that he had had a computer for 10 years but didn’t have anyone to show him how to use it and didn’t learn anything. Enter Digital Dividends and two weekly classes at Dana’s building in Brighton. These days, Dana ‘likes to go to class, and sit and listen.’ He finds YouTube to be ‘endlessly entertaining’ and finds ‘everything interesting’ including most recently military history. ‘I am logging more hours on the Internet: how to cook chicken thighs, Ana Bushcraft which now includes her husband and her kids and her sister and child, etc., and (wait for it) Yuja Wang whom I have just discovered. There is a ton of her on the Internet. Try: Yuja Wang plays Liszt’s First Piano Concerto in E flat–Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra–Proms 2022.’ Dana enjoys learning on Google Maps and using street view to look at all the different places he’s visited/wants to visit in the world.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Dana shared, ‘If I learn one thing [in class], that’s great. Getting myself up, dressed and out of my apartment into the community room is good for me.’ We agree, Dana, and thank you for joining our programs, sharing your stories, joking with Teresa, and making her laugh so hard (no, we didn’t buy her a company jet yet, and she hasn’t left us to be a supermodel!). But most of all, for connecting with us so that we can learn from one another and understand just how special you truly are.
(Dana, pictured above with Teresa, LBFE Boston Digital Dividends Program Manager)