Saturday, October 31, 2015

Let's see where this entry goes

I first began blogging on AOL's journals, I think it was in 2003 or 2004.  Compared to the huge number of people you find blogging on the Google blogging platform, it was a pretty small, tight community.  I saw AOL gradually shutting down one program after another and knew that the Journals were probably going to go the way of the dinosaur; so before that happened, I started blogging on Google Blogger, usually doing different entries than I put on my Journal.  When AOL journals ended, I transferred that several years' worth of entries to Blogger so I wouldn't lose all the memories.  I lost most of the pictures contained therein, but the words and even reader's comments transferred smoothly.

We AOL bloggers had a certain bond, and yesterday I learned that even those I didn't interact with much have stayed in my thoughts.  Facebook is probably the main thing that kept us all together, because most of them just stopped blogging after Journals closed, but they showed up on Facebook.

Here's where this is leading:  Cliff has been reading the Willie Nelson autobiography that I read a couple of months back... stay with me here... and yesterday as he laid the Kindle aside, he remarked, "Willie has a house in Hawaii."  

"Yeah," I said.  "It's probably worth millions.  No average person could ever afford to live there."

About that time a Facebook friend came to mind, a used-to-be AOL Journals blogger.  

"But wait," I told him, "I do know of one Internet friend who is about as "normal" as anybody."  (I'm talking lifestyle, income, things like that... because really, who is normal?) 

So I found myself compelled to fill in the blanks about my friend who lives in Hawaii with her parents, helping with her mother who, I believe, has Alzheimer's.  Here's the short story I gave him about her whole life.

"She lived in Colorado when I first discovered her blog and most entries were about her kids and her husband.  They seemed to be a reasonably happy family, and probably were.  Then at some point the marriage grew troubled.  She and her husband agreed to disagree but continued living in the same house for awhile.  After several years, she returned to Hawaii and that's where she is now.  I'm pretty sure they aren't wealthy, but I'll bet the property she and her parents live on is worth a bunch.  Oh, and her kids and grandkids are still in Colorado."  

There was so much more I remembered, details about this lady's life, but it would have gotten boring to Cliff had I continued, so that's pretty much where I left things.

Here's what amazes me.  I never met this lady.  I didn't even read every single one of her blog entries, and although I remember leaving comments, I don't think I did so very often.  

But in the words she wrote as time went on, I saw her heart break, not just once, but many times.  I saw confusion, perhaps a touch of desperation, and finally acceptance,  I saw all this without her ever going into complete details about some things.  I guess you could call it "reading between the lines".

She isn't the happy-go-lucky lady I used to see portrayed in her blog.   But she still has her sense of humor.  

So.  At six o'clock this morning I decided to private message Jody on Facebook, knowing it was much earlier in Hawaii.  To my surprise, she immediately answered back.  She probably hadn't gone to bed yet... I didn't realize there was THAT much time difference between here and there!  We had a decent conversation, although I was all bouncing all over the place with the subject matter so that by the time she responded to one comment, I had already changed directions.

Yes, AOL Journals may be long gone, but the connection lingers on.

I do intend to do a little research and possibly come up with an entry about what Hawaii is like for the regular people, people who were born and raised there.  Wish me luck.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

The great thing about blogging and journaling that it does connect us with others from all over. Wonderful that you still keep in touch.

Back Porch Writer said...

I guess I don't remember this one. Does she still have a blog anywhere? Glad you connected with her. It's so neat the people we met back then and continue to have on our FB pages.

Jon said...

I really loved the old AOL blogging community and when it ended nothing has been quite the same. I started blogging on AOL when it first began. Do you remember when they had a word limit on blogs? If you wanted to write a long entry you'd have to do two or three posts.
I still very occasionally hear from old friends from AOL, but most of them have fallen by the wayside
It's really nice that you contacted the lady in Hawaii.

Margaret said...

What a lovely entry! I feel like I know more about my blog friends than I do about most of my face to face friends, and you people know WAY more about me than most. I've been to Hawaii three times and would go back again in a heartbeat. It is one of my favorite places in the world. However, it is not all sweetness and light away from the tourist areas and there are places where regular people can live, although they aren't necessarily nice or even safe.

Lori said...

Oh wow, Donna! I knew you were talking about Jody as soon as I read "Hawaii." And want to know something weird? I was just thinking of her yesterday!! I was scrolling through my Feed Reader to see who was still blogging and I noticed she made a post earlier this year, but I wasn't ready to read anyone's posts yet. I was moving things around, trying to organize my feeds, and I somehow lost the feed to her blog. I'm going to see if I have it in the list on my blog, and if I don't I was going to post on AOL to see if anyone has the URL. Strange that I was just thinking of her yesterday and again just a few minutes ago, and then I read this! We did really get connected in J-Land, didn't we? (Thomas knows you and Cliff as the J-Land friends in Missouri. He'll see a picture or video you've posted on my FB and asks who it is. "That's Donna, my J-Land friend in Missouri." He'll say, "Oh yeah, the one with the cows/chickens/husband who loves old tractors/the little girl they babysit." :)