remarkable times

of a

common life

sidebar articles

January 1, 2002--

Searching for lost friends on the Internet can sometimes result in great rewards. This happened this weekend as I looked for some friends we had when we lived in Ann Arbor. They moved to Texas in 1993 and we moved to Georgia in 1998 losing contact in the meantime. Performing email searches on their names, Jim and Tricia, resulted in many false leads in attempts to locate them over the years. I didn't think to try their children's names, Ben and Rachel. Until this weekend, that is.

Using Google as the search engine, one I've had the most success with in normal use, I found entries for Jim and Tricia, uncovering economic writers, professional trainers, staff developers and doctors, along with the usual assortment of genealogy web sites but nothing concerning the individuals I was looking for. I tried their son Ben, a gifted young musician. I found political activists and foreign web sites but again striking out. I then thought of their youngest child, daughter Rachel. Again I found a multitude of entries using Google. Health Care sites and high school sports pages but not the target individual. Except the thirteenth entry, sitting on the second page of results was an entry for a high school alumni page. I clicked on that expecting the usual false lead. The resulting web page was titled "The L.D. Bell Alumni mailing list page." But the entry for Rachel included on of the few personal web pages listed with the site. When I clicked on the web site for Rachel I was greeted by the web site of Ms. Whatsit. There was a Jewish script graphic, a graphic of a young blond girl and links to other pages on the site. This showed promise. And when I read the personal details she listed on one of the other pages I knew I hit paydirt.

It was a thrilling feeling to find someone not seen in almost ten years. The web site included a guestbook and an email address. I wrote a short note to Rachel using both devices hoping one would be seen. The email address turned out to be inactive, and another address I found was also inactive. However the site did provide clues I could use to find other information. I found that the high school was in an Arlington suburb and using that info re-ran the address search. Two entries looked promising. I made a phone call to one phone number listed in one of the two street addresses and came up empty. It is a frequent occurrence that information found on the Web is out of date by several years. Indeed, Rachel's web site looked like it was inactive since 1997. I got off the web and called Directory Service for the Texas town. There was no listing there for Jim's name but just before I hung up the Operator suggested "James." Indeed there was a listing nearby for a James and she gave me the phone number. When I called I got an answering machine. But the voice sounded like it could be Jim's. I left a message detailing who I was and what my search consisted of and left my phone number in case it was the Jim and Tricia I was looking for. Three days passed quietly. Then on Sunday night our phone rang and it was our long lost friend! That was so cool. Sometimes, just sometimes, you find what you're looking for on the web.

~ Comments or suggestions ~

elswhere in this site:

front page
the stories
send a message
search this site