Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Facebook story: reconnecting

In this dreary, rainy weather we're having, I tend to stay glued to the computer even more than usual. When all else fails, I mess around on Facebook.
On our most recent motorcycle ride (which seems eons ago, but was only a couple of weeks), we were on the back roads and passed through a small, decaying town that triggered the memory of a person in my past.
In the late 70's, my children were both in school and I decided to go to work at Whitaker Cable, eight miles from here. I called around and found someone I could ride with (my friend Carol, the most loyal friend I have; but she was a stranger to me then). For the first time in over ten years, I was going to be earning a paycheck.
The first day, they put me on a conveyor that turned out wiring harnesses. A woman just placed me there, showed me which wires I'd be plugging in and directing around a form with other wires, and left. Within ten minutes I was hopelessly behind. When I was at the point of going around the end of the conveyor, someone would turn off the conveyor and everyone would wait until I could catch up. Any of them could have helped me, but only one person did. The others stood there with smug smiles on their faces. It was quite embarrassing, and if it weren't for the fact that Cliff had told me he was sure I wouldn't be able to keep a job because I'd been out of the work force so long, I would have quit before noon. But I had to show him.
There was that one lady named Sue, a little older than me, working on my right. Until I got to the point where I could hold up my part of the job, she'd reach over and do one or two of my wires: just enough so that I could keep up. Within two weeks I could manage without help.
A couple of years later I heard some of the old-timers at Whitaker talking about how they used to bet on how long new employees would last, and they'd try to see how fast they could make them quit. They were laughing it up reminiscing, and I just had to tell them, "Yeah, I know all about it; I'm one of those people you tried to run off."
Thus ended their little trip down memory lane.
Sue was a quiet woman who lived in Cowgill. While working, we talked about our husbands and children; her husband liked tractors and so did Cliff. One time Cliff and I stopped by their place briefly on the way back from somewhere. But other than that, we only saw one another at work.
Whitaker Cable shut down and both of us sought employment elsewhere. I never saw her again, although someone later told me one of her sons fell while working at construction and was paralyzed from the neck down.
Sue's last name isn't all that common, so I decided to type it in the Facebook search. I knew the chances of someone her age being on Facebook were slim, but I was just passing time; and it never hurts to try.
She wasn't listed, but there were several young folks with her last name who attend high school in Polo, Missouri; that's where Cowgill kids go to school. I figured they had to be related to Sue, probably her grandchildren. Of course you can't see profiles of people who haven't "friended" you, but you can see their faces and ages, and you can send them a message.
So I chose a pretty girl named Tiffany (class of '09) and asked if she was related to Sue. Within an hour, I had this reply: "Yeah that's my grandma she is the best she is doin pretty good she moved to the ozarks about 6 in ah half years ago my grandpa died in 06 I think it was in a simple hernia surgery she had a hard time for a while but she's doin better now."
I told her to tell her grandma, next time she saw her, that I remembered her fondly. She messaged back, "Wouldja like her number?"
Of course this sent me into a cold sweat. Me, talk on the phone to someone I haven't seen in thirty years? What would we talk about? Could I keep up my end of the conversation? I'm a typer, not a talker!
So I told Tiffany I'm not much for talking on the phone, but I'd love to have Sue's address so I could write her a note.
Perhaps she'll give it to me, because she "friended" me overnight.
I'm sharing this so some of you can see the opportunities afforded by Facebook to reconnect with people who helped you along the way; maybe there's somebody in your past to whom you owe a "thank you". You may find them, directly or indirectly, on Facebook.


Paula said...

Interesting story. Cliff's words to you reminded me of Mel telling me those same words. Boy! Did that light a fire under me. I not only got the job but I stayed there a year and eight months and loved it. Had to quit because my job conflicted with Mel's and left the kids home at night alone.

Lori said...

That was a great story!! I hope you do get in touch with Sue. I'm sure that would make her day. Loved the story of how she helped you at work. I've reconnected with a few people I worked with before I got married and some classmates too.

MissKris said...

My favorite reconnection with someone on Facebook has been with a pen pal I first began writing to when I was 14 and she was 13. We lost contact as busy mothers during our 20s. Her married name was quite unusual so I had the brilliant idea to see if I could find anyone with that last name one nite. I didn't find Robin but I found a young woman I thought must be her daughter...I remembered the daughter's name because it was quite unusual too. So...I sent Daughter the message and she answered back the next day telling me YES, she was my pen pal's daughter and knew her mom would be thrilled to hear from me. She got Robin and me reconnected. Funny end to the story...Robin hates computers, so we're back to being pen pals again. We hadn't had any contact in almost 30 years and it was like we picked up right where we left off. Hmmmmm...I think I have a couple of blog entries coming from this and my last comment, ha! Oh, and Robin and I even met back when I was 19. I visited a friend in Minneapolis and the town Robin lived in was about 50 miles away. My friend LuAnn drove me there so Robin and I could meet. Again, we just started chatting like we'd known each other forever. So, Donna...get brave and make that call. Tho, as another telephone-avoider unless it's absolutely dire I use one...I understand your angst!!! And if you do, update us please!