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Something Old... Something New 
by: Jeremy Fleice

"Whatever happened to that girl that sat beside me every semester for two years?  That one that I used to talk with twice a day whether we had anything to talk about or not.  Allison, that was her name.  I wonder what happened to her. Did she marry that jock?  Did she stay married?" 

We've all been there.  A little time by ourselves and we get a little nostalgic and think of all the people that we knew in high school, the military, college, the kid next door that was such a pest, certain boyfriends or girlfriends. 

They are kind of frozen in our minds at the point where we last saw them.  We wonder if we made the same lasting impression on them that they made on us.

Perhaps it's a sign of age and a desire to return to our youth.  Maybe it's a cosmic connection that we establish with certain people at various points in our life.  Whatever the reason, it tends to evoke somewhat of a sadness and a reflection on the time spent since those relationships vanished.

One of the best benefits of those memories is that we can reach back and reconnect with those times.  That happened to me recently.  An old acquaintance from high school days emailed me shortly before Thanksgiving, not knowing that I had often thought of him and wondered what became of his life.

I got the email while I was sitting at my computer one day and it didn't take me but a few minutes after the shock wore off to figure what to do next.  

Coincidentally, I noticed that he was an AOL user and having used the application before, I knew that if I downloaded the free AOL chat application called AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), I could actually chat with ol' Paul if he was still online.  Within minutes of receiving his email, we were talking for the first time in nearly 20 years.

I have to say the fact that he took the time and effort to look me up genuinely made me feel great!  It also inspired me.  It took me a few weeks, but I looked up my old best friend that I haven't spoken to in about 18 years... we kind of drifted apart after we each got married.

Two rings on the telephone and we spent about an hour and a half just catching up, having some laughs, and before you know it, we were connecting like we did in high school.  Time hadn't done the number that I thought it might.

It has since dawned on me how important those relationships were and basically still are even though they have been frozen in time.  Sure, her voice was a half an octave lower.  Mine is surely somewhat raspier.  But we are still the same people.

In this day of the Internet and relatively cheap long distance, there is very little that stops a person from finding and connecting with those that you regularly think about.  The real obstacle is getting the nerve to pick up the phone and call.  From personal experience, let me tell you that it is worth it.  The joy that is shared by connecting with old friends is something that will make your day.  Hey, it might even make your year!

I know... there are plenty of excuses not to.  I had tons of them.  But I am going to get rid of those for you right here.  Since you have made it to this web site, you can find most people if you put a little effort into it.  It may require making several connections before you get to the person you started out looking for, but chances are that you will make some incredible connections in the meantime. 

Let's start out with the basics.  If you know the person's last name and city where they live, you have a great start.  If it is a woman and the last name has changed, it may be somewhat more of an obstacle, but it's still possible.

The first place to start if you have some basic information is a "people-search page".  Yahoo has a great one.  Enter the name and even just the state and you can pour through all the phone listings for that name.  The more information that you have, the better your search results.

No luck there?  Try the name of a known relative.  I found one not too long ago by calling someone that turned out to be the uncle of the person I was trying to get in touch with.

Then there is Classmates.com.  What a great idea.  You can freely browse their incredible list of people by school and year of graduation.  Going through my class, I found names that I haven't even thought of since graduation.  I probably won't contact but a few but I can be certain of one thing.  The reason that they put their info online is because they want to be contacted.

To access their database and contact people you see on the list, you do have to pay them.  But at $29.95 for a year... OKAY!

Other places you might want to check out:

InfoUSA

PeopleSearch 

If those aren't enough, go back to Yahoo's main page and enter the term "people search" into the search box.  You will find a seemingly endless number of pay and free search locations.

Happy hunting and best of luck finding that old friend.

 

 

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