Mother of the groom: Harriet Schlesinger Annis, M.D., is unable to travel to California for her son's wedding, so she'll be watching a live video feed from the computer room at the Oak Park Arms.J. GEIL/Staff Photographer

Traveling isn’t as easy as it used to be for 95-year-old retiree Harriet Schlesinger Annis. She seemed destined to miss her son’s wedding next week in Monterey, Calif. — some 2,000 miles away from Oak Park.

“When you get to be 95, everything’s difficult,” she said. “But I can still do some things. I can still touch my toes.”

Turns out Annis will also be able to watch the ceremony without leaving the comfort of the Oak Park Arms retirement community.

Rather than making the long trek across the country, Annis plans to watch her son Jonathan’s wedding from her computer via Skype, an internet video phone service.

“I don’t think I’d be able to make the trip, but he had the bright idea, ‘Why don’t we Skype?'” she said. “I had to learn. What the heck is Skype?”

Annis, a physician who retired when she was 80, has lived at The Arms since last April. She had been following her son around the country for years before finally settling in Oak Park about 10 years ago.

She isn’t a big computer user but has been taking a crash course for the past month as she prepares for her son’s wedding on Dec. 28.

“I’m kind of enjoying it. Everybody has a computer out there, so I tune into them and see what that’s all about,” she said. “I expect I’ll be with it more often now.”

Jonathan Annis, 64, is a family practice doctor who is getting married for the third time next week. He’s been using Skype for awhile to talk to his kids and other people around the country, and thought it would be a perfect way to have his mom see his wedding.

He hasn’t, yet, figured out the logistics of where the laptop will be placed during the exchange of vows —probably somewhere along the sideline, he said. It partly depends on the weather, as it’s currently the rainy season in California and they’re hoping for an outdoor ceremony.

“I love that the technology exists to be able to do that,” he said. “Two years ago I would have no idea how to do anything like this. Now, it’s a free technology on my computer that can include my mother in my wedding. I think it’s great.”

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