I’m not really sure what to call this blog. I considered Finding Family, but it reminded me too much of Finding Nemo. I considered The Prodigals, but how am I to say if the loved ones I have located are the prodigals or I am the prodigal. More likely it’s me… So, let’s just call it Lost and Found. It doesn’t really capture my feelings, but it’s the best I can do.
Imust admit that some of my reconnections are due to Facebook. I know that many people have found old friends through the Social network sites. They have their upsides and downsides; but, overall, I think they are positive. At least they have been for me.
There are 6 people that I have been especially close to and have (in one way or another) lost contact with over the years. Close friends, those that are really considered family and those that are really a part of who I am.
CARLA CLARK –
The first that made her way back into my life is my dear friend and ex-roommate, Carla Clark. Carla has been so special to me and every birthday, she is especially on my mind as our birthdays are 2 days apart. We used to spend every waking moment together, but as we married and moved away, we lost touch. I remember when we would have an evening of “Champagne and Cookies”. I’d play piano and we’d sing and laugh and cry. What’s great about Carla is not just her absolutely beautiful spirit, but the fact that she always encourages. Not just me, but everyone she meets. Carla is one of those people, like the others I will talk about in this blog, that no matter how long we’ve been apart, when we reconnect, it’s like no time at all has passed. I love her and am so happy that we are once again in each other’s lives.
JOE HENTGES –
Joe was pretty much my best friend from 9th grade until my late 20’s. We’ve shared so much over the years. He will email me and say “remember the time?” and I will smile and send him a note back with the same question. I am so fortunate that I love his wife, too. Patti and I had an instant connection when we met. She is funny, beautiful and intelligent. She would have been my friend even had we met without Joe around. When I needed a friend, I would turn to Joe and he was ALWAYS there. I still feel that way about Joe and Patti. We may be 2,500 miles apart, but if we needed each other, we would find a way to be there. I had lost touch with Joe for several years. My mom, however, heard from him quite frequently and would fill me in on what was happening in his life. I “reconnected” with them through Facebook and am so happy I did. It’s like a piece of me that was lost has returned.
COLEEN VANSLYKE –
Coleen is another that I’ve found through Facebook. Actually, I think she found me. I didn’t know her new last name and was unable to locate her, although I tried. She found me, though. A close friend always will. Coleen and I are so much alike. We are both musicians and would spend hours playing the piano and singing. We even put on shows at Dad’s church in Anaheim. Coleen is also a friend that, when we reconnected, it was like no time had passed. She has helped encourage me during my recent health difficulties and I have tried to do the same for her when her sweet daughter had to undergo serious surgery. She has endured so much over the recent years, including the loss of her beautiful daughter-in-law, who was killed in action overseas. She continues to maintain that positive attitude that is so essential in surviving this world. It makes me smile just to think of her and the times we continue to share.
DARLENE CHRISTY -
A very, very important part of my life has been with my “big sister”, Darlene Christy. Darlene always stayed in touch with my folks, but I had lost touch as I married and ended up moving so far away. Darlene was my Dad’s secretary at our church in Portland, Oregon. I was about 6, I guess, when we first met. She was single and immediately became a close part of our family. When I was about 10, we moved to California. Eventually Darlene moved down to Long Beach. She was the big sister I never had. She would let me stay with her at her apartment on occasion. I remember one time in particular that we put on Fats Domino and Chubby Checker records and danced the twist in her living room until our sides hurt. We would fall onto the couch laughing and then get up and start again! She was also never far from my thoughts, but it wasn’t until this past year or two that we began communicating more frequently. Such a joy to have her back in my life!
The next 2 that I have “found” are actually due to the efforts of my sweet husband, Charlie. He knows how long I looked for these guys and he was able to find both of them just after Thanksgiving. I can’t express how happy I am that he was able to succeed at what I had been unable to do for so many years. The parts these two men have played in my life are totally different, but both very special to me.
PETER ALEXANDER –
Peter was my boss at WED, the design arm of the Disney Company. He was the VP of Project Management Support and I was his Executive Assistant. Peter was immediately less a boss and more a friend. He taught me so much about how to navigate in the murky waters of Corporate America. He also encouraged me in many areas and we laughed a great deal. (I’m starting to notice just how important laughter has been, and continues to be in my life.) When I was engaged to Charlie, Peter threw me a Wedding Shower at the office. Not many people can say that their boss, the VP, did something like that.
Peter left WED for a position at Universal Studios in LA. I tried working for the President of WED, but really didn’t like it, so Peter hired me as his assistant at Universal. We had a blast there, too. We used to drive down to the sound stages and watch filming. He is so creative, it amazes me. He also shared his home life with us. When we moved to Virginia, we lost touch. It’s VERY hard to find someone named Peter Alexander via Google. Not a unique name. After moving to Florida to build, open and run Universal Studios Theme Park there, he started his own company. Charlie happened upon it while doing one of his Theme Park searches on the internet. Peter’s company is called The Totally Fun Company. Perfect name. Describes his company and how I always felt about him. We’ve reconnected and will keep in touch now, I’m sure.
RODNEY NOBLE –
Last, but definitely not least, is someone that will delight my entire family. I’m using this blog to let them know about this special person that Charlie has found for us. He is definitely my brother in every way that counts and has never been far from my thoughts for the many years we have been apart. Rodney Noble was a young man with a voice like an angel. He came into our lives so many years ago and became such an integral part of our family that I cannot even remember when he wasn’t there. During one of his searches, Charlie happened upon another old email address for Rodney on the internet. We sent emails, but did not hold out any hope that we would succeed in finding him, or even that it was the right Rodney Noble. The absolute BEST Christmas present I received this year, was a response from Rodney on Christmas Day! We had found our brother! Rodney has had some tough years and we had not communicated in any way for about 15 or more. You can only imagine how long our emails are to each other. We have so much to say after so long apart.
Rodney has been with us in the good times and in several difficult times. He always has been encouraging, supportive and always loving and positive. When I think about those long years when he must have felt he was alone, I want to hug him close and remind him that he has always been loved, just out of touch. Now that he is back in our lives, I know we won’t let him go.
In all of the difficult times that I’ve had over the past few years, the highlights have been finding these people who are near and dear to me that helped get me through. I see some similarities in the personalities of these dear friends: positive, encouraging, loving and the sharing of laughter. I guess if I can share anything with my readers it is to remind you to be the type of person that others would miss terribly if you were not in their lives. Be positive. Be encouraging. Be loving. Share the gift of laughter with everyone you meet. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, remember that others will have different thoughts, beliefs, passions than you may have. This does not mean that you should be critical, judgmental or negative toward them. Embrace the world with love. You’ll be the one who benefits.