I've shared before about how much I love the connectedness of the internet - finding distant relatives, making new friends, having the answer to any question right at my fingertips. To me the world wide web is magik. Oh, and that part deux? Homage to one of my favorite commercials - the woman who finds her French model boyfriend on the internet. Bonjour! ("They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.")
Recently internet connections helped Bud return the loss of something of value to its rightful owner. It was while on his morning run he found a Samsung tablet and nearby its case. It was along the highway so he expected it to be broken, but picked it up anyway. Once home he found that it was a little scratched but otherwise okay. At first there was little discernible to identify the owner. I noted that the default weather was set to a town in Texas. Bud noticed that many of the marked pages had to do with Disc Golf. Then he found something with a name on it. I entered the name on Facebook and had several hits, one of which was in the same town as the Texas location set for weather info. Bud noticed all the likes concerning disc golf. We decided there was a very good possibility we had found the right person. Bud found the man's e-mail information and sent him a message along with our phone number. At 9:30 that same night the guy called - it was his tablet. He hadn't even missed it yet. As I had suspected, he had put it on top of his vehicle, forgot about it and then took off flinging the tablet to the side of the road. The man was working on a crew that traveled to various locations around the state. When he returned to town a few days later, he got his tablet back. Without the internet we would never have found the owner.
The other recent connection is much more personal. Several months ago I received a Facebook friend request from one of my son's cousins. I accepted the request. It was interesting to see the man's pictures and read his posts. Then one day he commented on one of my posts and referred to me as Auntie. Oh, how that warmed my heart. It had been 47 years since his uncle and I had parted and he was no longer a part of my life. The little boy I remembered was a grown man and still thought of me as his aunt - so maybe not everyone in my former husband's family hated me?
When my son planned a camp out to celebrate his birthday, he posted a general invitation to all on his Facebook page. I was happy to see that my former nephew planned to attend also. I was looking forward to seeing him again.
We arrived at the campsite and there he was. He goes by Al now, though it is hard for me to call him anything but Alan. We walked up to each other and into a big hug. The first thing he told me was how he remembered when I went to their home in Kansas City to take care of him and his younger siblings while his Mom was in the hospital having a baby. He said I packed the best lunch for him to take to school. I told him what I remembered most about that week was how exhausted I was taking care of so many little kids (five counting my little boy). When his mom got home she berated me for doing everything for them - said the kids were supposed to pick up after themselves and do other chores around the house.
Here is a picture of Al on the left and my son, Doug, on the right. You can certainly tell these two are related.
Funny thing about getting older, at least for me, the things that tore apart families and even other friendships don't seem nearly as important. What you remember is what those people once meant to you, how you wish you might see and talk to them once more.
My little nephew Alan was so sweet. I loved him and his siblings. His hugs touched my heart.
The grown up Al hugged his Auntie and I felt those same heart tugs. The magik of the internet.