“What ever happened to….?” It seems like all at once we began asking this question…right about the age of 50 we suddenly developed the need to know about people we haven’t thought about in decades.
Perhaps we find some old photographs or run into an old friend or get an invitation to attend a reunion; whatever the trigger is, we then begin the search for answers of what became of “Bob – your high school debate partner” or “Mrs. Henderson – your 2nd grade teacher” or “Mr. Gomez – the kind next door neighbor in apartment B?
My cousin is one of those people who remembers everybody. She has kept up with them and if they are no longer with us, she knows their children and grandchildren. She often tells me, for example, that she spoke with Mary, who is the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Theodocopoulos who was our Sunday School teach who tripped on the church pew during Easter Service. Well, I have no memory of that particular incident nor do I remember Mrs. T – but then we begin to talk about other people from our old community and memories surface. A walk back to the past indeed.
Is it a coincidence that as we reached this point in our lives, technology had made it so much easier to find people? It sure seems that way. Social media and the internet allow us to write in a name in our search engine; a common name brings up many listings of the same name, so then you need to check each one out or make your search more defined.
A have done this numerous times with mixed results. Some successful, some not. Some happy re-connections, some brought tears. Two people I was once close to in my childhood and in my twenties led me to their obituaries. Another childhood friend was tougher to find. Her Greek name was often coupled with an English version. The use of her real name was shortened. She changed her long, difficult to pronounce last name into her father’s first name. I tried and tried to no avail. And then, one day, she found me! Happiness and Joy! She lives in another country, but we “chatted” and caught up with one another about our own lives and then moved into – are you in touch with other classmates? We shared what we knew and then, she told me that one of our dear school friends (my budding romance at the age of 12) was no longer with us – he had a hard life and an early passing. Tears flowed as I read her words.
Searching ancestry sites not only tells us about our family history, it also connects us to a relative once or twice removed so we can connect with them as well and perhaps find out what happened to that branch of the family tree. Now that retirement brings more time to explore our past, the tools to do this are just right. Perfect Timing!
We are on it!
PS. 2020 Stay Home health emergency crises gives us the time to do this now!
My high school graduation autograph book from The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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