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MY BLOG (2006)

Hey, everyone else in the world has a Blog now. Who am I to buck the trend?

(This Blog is in top-down. Oldest entries on top, newer entries below.)


2005: December

So, I just got this powerful and expensive web page design software and I'm looking around for a use for it besides the couple of web sites I've already done. You know, something I can play with. Well, my old Web Site has been around for a few years and the information in it was pretty stale. Maybe I'll update it a bit and see if I can get the hit counts (number of visitor's) up a bit. So I sit there, staring at the Web, and wondering what I could put out there that isn't already there. Little did I realize that my subconscious mind was already on the job.

Well, my subconscious tells my conscious that it's time for my MIDLIFE CRISIS! Egads did it hit hard. I started thinking of my time in Germany at McNair Kaserne. A Google search brings up some stuff, but not at all what I was looking for.

I have a goal.


2006: January

The base of the Web Site is complete. I toss almost all of the old stuff, except for the Pro Rally pages. Those are freshened with new photos and writing. The scanner then gets a good workout while I go through the McNair photos I've saved all these years. The memories flood in as I work. Lots of good memories, and a few not so good memories. The McNair web pages are really taking shape. They are also turning out to be the main reason for the whole web site. I can live with that.

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06 January: The new Web Site hit the Web.

Unfortunately, In my haste to get the web out, I forgot that the hit counter was down. I'll never know how many people visited in January and most of February.

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28 January: I announce my Web Site in a couple of places that pertain to McNair. I sit back to see what happens.


2006: February

I get a few emails here and there. Every one of them telling me of his/her appreciation of the Web Site and how much it brought back memories for him/her. Unfortunately, none of the emails are from someone I can definitely remember. Nor can any of them remember me. It doesn't matter though. It helps my itch to learn about my old friends and I am glad to share what I have with the people who take the time to email me.

I still haven't heard from anyone listed on my McNair Web Page. I have done numerous web searches and have some good possible leads, but none of them concrete. A few of them turn up nothing at all or, worse, far to many leads. Darn.

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10 February: My first email from someone I remember! Well, somewhat. Mr E(*) and I both have mutual friends, Ana, Beate, Janet, and a few others. We speak on the phone and our combined memories and notes bring out some amazing information. It was a good phone call. Mr. E also sends me lots of photos, along with permission to use them. I do.

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21 February: The hit counter is back up. Now I can start seeing how the interest in my Web Site is doing. By 29 Feb. I have 29 visitors. Not bad for one week, considering the search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc) haven't found the Web Site yet.

(* Not his real initial or sex...maybe.)


2006: March

Things are looking up. I've had a good number of email responses, all of them thanking me for the information I've posted and the memories I've rekindled. I send them what information I have if I can and at least try to send encouragement to those that I cannot help... yet. If I can help one person find an old friend, then it's worth it to me. Oh, I know that law of averages will rear it's ugly head and I'll get an email telling me to go pound sand or something. I'm prepared for that, though it will still be a blow.

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06 March: More email from important people! Mr. F(*) and Mr. A(*) both have mutual friends with me. I speak on the phone with Mr. F and it was fantastic. These two people combined give me more information about a couple of people in just a few minutes than I have been able to find out in many years. Not all of it good news but it's good for me to find out. These people help me immensely in my efforts for closure.

I have found a very good hit on one person I have been searching for. Not at all positive but it includes an address, a phone number and a recent photo that even my wife admits shows a "remarkable resemblance". Unfortunately, of all the people I am looking for, this person I would classify as the least likely to want to get back in contact with me and I would agree with her reasons. So I decide not to pick up the phone and call and, instead, write a letter. I take that letter and another letter to another friend's 20 year old address and send them out. Both letters include the acknowledgement that the person may not wish to reminisce and I'm comfortable with that. Maybe I'll hear from them. Maybe not.

I am averaging about an email every other day concerning my Web Site. Every one of them appreciated. But It's also frustrating in a way. I have this core group of friends I am looking for and have yet to hear from a single one. I continue to look. Alan is either employed with the EPA, living in Australia, a photographer for an auto magazine (that's a good possible hit) or any number of other hits. Mickey, I may have narrowed down to 4 addresses in Colorado where I last remember him being. I may do a blind snail mail just to find out.

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26 March: The Web Site breaks the >100 visitor mark. The vast majority of them looking at my McNair stuff. I found out today that my across the street neighbor used to live in Frankfurt in the late 1960s. I knew she was German but I didn't know where she lived. She told me this when I asked her to translate an email from English to German for me. Small world we live in.

You know what makes me happy? Depositing a 6 figure check for work I did with my side business.
You know what makes me happier? Having one of my cats fall into blissful sleep on my chest, right after giving her 15 minutes of some serious ear scratching.
You know what makes me even happier? Handing my daughters Ukrainian friend a Flav-R-Ice pop and watching her try to figure out how to eat it, then showing her how.

(*Not their real initials or sex...maybe.)


2006: April

03 April: Roller coaster ride and only 3 days into the month. I find a site with birth/marriage/divorce/death statistics. Here is where I find that one of the people I am looking for divorced over near Houston in July 1981, just over two years after she married in Germany. There is something going on with this person I knew, which adds fuel to my desire to find her. I think she would like to know what I want to share with her.

I also find Mickey Pratts death here. I knew something like this was bound to happen. As prepared as I thought I was, I wasn't. I cried for my friend as I write up his obituary for my Web Site. Later, another friends death notice turns up. He wasn't so much a friend as an acquaintance but the loss is still regrettable.

Then PAYDIRT! I call a 27 year-old phone number for another friend, Mark Sefton. A very nice lady answers the phone. I start my standard spiel "Hi, my name is Doug, please excuse my imposition but I am trying to locate an old friend of mine from 1979 in Germany..." She says "Oh, are you an old Army friend?" My heart flutters. "Yes, Mark Sefton. Do you know him?" "Oh, ya." was her reply. My heart stops. Those two small words tell me volumes. She didn't give me his phone number but offered to forward my name and number to him. Makes sense to me... I sit out the night, then get his call the next day. Very short call but worth every minute. I only hope that, by looking at the info on my web pages, that it sparks enough interest for us to continue a long-lost friendship.

So, 2 out of 10 people FOUND in 4 months. Not bad I guess. I hope more of my old friends show up just as quick, although I have my doubts that the rest will be near as easy nor as quick.

Some, I will never find.

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08 April: I haven't had any response to the two letters I sent out on 06 March. One of the letters I sent to someone I was very sure was a person I was looking for. Turns out that this was a false alarm, thanks to a very kind thing that Mr. F(*) did. The lady was kind enough to return a phone call and let us know that she was not the person I am looking for. The other person hasn't contacted me either but the 27 year-old address (no phone number) is a long shot as it is. I can only hope that the letter is slowly traveling through that close-knit Cuban community on its trek to the correct person. I am DEFINATELY interested in hearing from that person. Personal reasons.

My American friends searching has dried up for now so I decided to concentrate on the German friends. Three of my friends were in High School back when I first met them. That sounds a little weird nowadays but I was only 18 at the time I met them. I found the German equivalent of CLASSMATES.COM. I looked at the school that they attended and found one possible hit. The only thing is that I have to register to contact her. I may do that if I can register as a Friend like the American site. Not now though.

I also found the Germany equivalent of WHITEPAGES.COM. It took me awhile to figure out the site, it being in German and all. I did get a single hit for one lady I knew. The address is a good ways from Frankfurt but it's the only listing for that name in Germany. Now, I realize that she's been married at least three times so the last name is probably not valid. She may have decided to revert to her maiden name though. It's worth an overseas stamp and an IRC for a return letter to find out.

Once I remembered that Frankfurt is in the "State" of Hessen then the floodgates opened up! I did a search for the last names of two of the girls I knew and came up with some very good hits. One hit had her full name and an address just a few klicks from Hoechst. Who knows, maybe she never married or kept her maiden name. (Mental image of my arms flailing around grasping at straws comes to mind here).

Then I did a search in the Hoechst area, once I figured out the German Zip Code for it. WOW! I am pretty sure I found the original addresses for both girls I am targeting in this search. I used a Web Site that let me enter an address and zoomed a map image right to the address on the map. I did a bit of mental walking around town using that map and I am about 95% sure that both of the addresses are correct. I realize that these are apartments and there are about 25 families in each apartment but both last names match the locations to a "T". Definitely worth a couple of stamps and IRC's to find out.

Unfortunately, the letters will have to wait for late next week. My real job has me going to the "Mother Ship" (Corporate Headquarters) next week. So I am out of pocket for awhile.

I can use the break.

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15 April: Things have slowed down a bit. Hit counts to the web pages are down to about 5-10 people a day. I guess it's because Spring is here and more people are out and less people are setting in front of the computer. Actually, this is kind-of good because my side business is keeping me pretty busy. I did get a bunch of hits from Germany and a good bit of them added my site to their Bookmark file (maybe).

I sent out one letter to Germany. This went to a friend's parents address. I included a letter inside, a SASE, $1.85 worth of International Reply Coupon (IRC), and $0.85 worth of overseas stamps to get it there. I included the envelope and IRC in the hopes of getting return information, good or bad. I have about 4 more addresses off-hand but will meter them out week by week. These addresses are about my last hope of finding any of my old overseas friends.

You know what makes me happy? Setting in the front yard at 8:30 at night and watching the entire eastern third of the sky glow bright orange as a full moon starts rising from the mountains.

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23 April: Still a bit slow. I sent out another letter to Germany on Monday. This one went to the old address of another friends Mother. The address was found in the Germany white pages web page and the last name matches. The first name is "G*****" which may or may not be this persons Mom. I just can't recall her first name. Curse me for losing my address book!. I also called a couple of phone numbers I found on the Web that may have been for another friend of mine. The numbers were duds. Wasn't her. Darn.

My hit counts on my Web Site now exceed the numbers from last month. Good. More people looking at my Web Site means more of a chance for one of my friends to find it and contact me.

I received a lot of information about my friends within a few weeks of starting this project. Lately, though, I have received almost nothing. I guess God just wanted to wet my appetite a bit before tasking me by making me wait. I hope he doesn't make me wait too long. Every day that passes increases the odds that I cannot find someone.

I'm still getting a good amount of encouragement about my Web Site though. It sure helps me.

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30 April: Let's see. More people have accessed my web pages this month than last month. This is despite the fact that I haven't been emailing people and telling them about the site near as much as I did last month. I can tell that most of the computers accessing it come in directly, instead of via a search engine like Google etc. I guess people are telling other people about my site. Good!

I have access to a very limited amount of information about who has accessed my web. Mostly just which provider (AOL, Starband, etc) and sometimes the general area they are in, how many times a certain page was accessed (but not by who), and a very rough estimate of how many people have added me to their "bookmarks". I could cough up $1,225.00 for a program to tell me more but I sure can't afford that for this hobby. Besides, I think any more info would be kind of intrusive.

And I wonder about these ghosts in the machine visiting my life. Last month, I THINK I got my first set of hits from Germany. I think I know who this was from but I didn't get email from the person. Makes sense since I don't know her and she doesn't know me. I sent her email because she was asking for any information about military people that used to be stationed at McNair. This week I think I got even more hits from Germany. I even got an email from an old friend! I am very frustrated at myself for doing something I thought was very nice but was not received well at all. I can be so stupid at times. More on this later... if there is a later with regards to this (and I pray there is).

And who are these other people? Lots of hits from the Houston area (last known whereabouts of another friend). Utah area? Pacific rim countries? It's bizarre. Makes me wonder if any of my old friends have seen the site and decided not to contact me and that would make me so sad. I mean it's not like I will give out contact information without permission, or like my family doesn't know about my searching. My wife actually uses her work computer (Mac) to proof the site to make sure it works for that kind of computer. She's the best. She knows my motives and agrees with them.

You know, that is all I wish to ask of my old friends. Email or regular mail conversations, a chance to reminisce about the times we shared back then. Something to help my desire to make sure he or she is OK and has had a good life since we parted. I have no desire to disrupt my life as it is now and go rushing off to rekindle some old relationship, but a "pen pal" kind of thing would be fantastic.

I sent an email out to a person that I have seen all over the web. Mr. RR(*) admitted that I was the first person from McNair itself to contact him. He was there around the same time I was but, like most people, we didn't know each other then. Nevertheless, he brings me news of the High School I graduated from (Frankfurt American High School). We have had some good email contacts.

You know what makes me happy? Nothing right now. I'm too bummed out by my own stupidity.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)


2006: May

07 May: Mr. RR(*) and I have been exchanging emails and a phone call. Very nice gentleman and really helped to bring some memories of my time at McNair.

I have stopped actively searching for my old friends. It just hurts too much and I need time before I start looking again.

If I ever start looking again, that is.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)

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14 May: I am still not actively searching for the rest of my old friends. My only hope for now is that they find me and want to talk. I've spent most of my time this week exchanging emails with some of the friends I've made since starting this project.

A few months ago, I bought a "Learn German" set of CD's. Most of the time in my regular job consists of driving. That makes for a lot of semi-free time. I bought an MP3 player and loaded the German language CD's into it. I try to spend a few hours a day listening to the files and seeing how much German I can pick up. So far I think I have learned enough to get around town, order lunch, ask directions, and stuff like that. I have a long way to go with this project, but I also have a lot of desire to learn the language. Christine tried to teach me some German while I was over at McNair but I was young and didn't have the patience. She went so far as to loan me some kindergarten books (the typical "See Dick. See Jane. See Dick run." thing). I thank her for caring enough to try.

I also found http://www.dw-world.de, the home of the Deutsche Welle international broadcaster. Drilling around in that site brought me to a free, learn-German course. It's a great course. After about 3 hours of studying I discovered that I could actually understand about 50% of some simple spoken sentences. "Hi. How are you. Where do you live? How is the weather?" Stuff like that. Well, it's a start. I left off at the part where I have to learn to sing the German "A,B,C" song. I'll pick it back up in a day or two when I'm near a computer.

I tend to obsess when it comes to a project. It's like when I decided to build a complex Amateur Radio repeater system for the local ham club (http://www.bigbendarc.com/REPEATERS/Repeater_Index.html). I didn't know anything about how to do it. I taught myself. Poor Angie, bless her heart, knows about this obsessing all too well. Nevertheless, she decided to support me all the way when I asked her if I could do the McNair web site and start looking for old friends. She's the best.

I added a page or two to the site today. Also added some words and photos to some of the pages already there. Slowly it grows... into a nightmare! 8-).

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21 May: I just got off of the phone after 2 1/2 hours of reminiscing with one of my old friends. It was the second time Mr. MS(*) and I have talked in the last few months but this call was significantly longer and more rewarding. MS is one of the people in the photo on my main page. Like the other people in that photo, MS made a significant impact on my life back then. Also, like the other people in that photo, I have an intense desire to know how he or she is doing.

Please allow me to state something to any of you that was part of our group back then, but is hesitant to contact me: Rest assured that I would absolutely love to hear from you. Don't for even a second think that some passed unfortunate incident lessens my desire to hear from you. Everything that happened back then, even the bad things, contributed to make us what we are today. I know that a lot of people are reading this Blog, so there is a good chance of one of my old friends is among them. Go ahead, click on this link and say "Hi". Enough said about that.

Back to the call: I have heard of memories being repressed but I had never actually experienced it. Well, that statement is no longer true. MS told me of a couple of incidents that I can not even begin to recall. I have entirely no memory of one incident in particular that happened between one of my friends and myself. This incident was so significant to me that the only way that I can not remember it has to be attributed to repression. The facts he related to me filled a few holes in my memory of another person in that photo and I have to admit that the facts make sense. I am so embarrassed about what he told me about what I did...

At this point I was going to say that I was an idiot, and I guess I was. But we were all only kids, taken away from the comfort of our lives and thrust into that Zoo known as McNair Kaserne. We were experiencing the double whammy of not only trying to grow up and find ourselves, but of simultaneously doing this in the backdrop of a foreign country, working at a job that could easily cost us our lives, and doing all this with 1,000 other people experiencing the same thing. It's a wonder anyone got out of there alive, much less without any regrettable experiences.

Some did NOT get out alive. Murder, suicide and death were rare, but not unknown there.

I made a promise to MS today that I would make a phone call to another of our friends, Mr. DB(*). I have a phone number that I give about a 75% chance of being right. I am not really quite prepared to start up the search for old friends again but I promised... and I cannot go back on a promise. I'll give him a call here in a few hours. Wish me luck.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)

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31 May: The phone number I tried for Mr. DB(*) was a wash. I talked with a very nice lady and together we figured out that her husband wasn't the person I was looking for. Darn.

I received a lot of hits from someone in Waco, Texas. Waco is sort-of close to Ft. Hood. I have no idea who it was as they did not leave email. I also got a few hits from the Department of Homeland Security in Texas. That alarmed me for a moment, but I think it is a friend of mine that works for that group.

I sent a letter to Germany during the week of 15 April. I thought it was the address of her parents apartment. I have since found a paper from 27 years ago that has her parents address back then. The old address and the address I sent the letter to don't match. So it's back to the drawing board on looking for that person.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)


2006: June

18 June: I have spent the last couple of weekends on the boat over at Canyon Lake so haven't had time to update my Blog until now.

Let's see... I received a letter from Mickey Pratt's dad. He updated me on a couple of facts with regards to Mickey's death and gave me permission to leave my Mickey Pratt page on the web. That's good.

I've already been chastised once for putting info about someone on my pages without permission. I thought that page was well done and the few people that saw it agreed, but I removed it and a couple others out of respect. The person has not had any contact since the single email saying "no thanks" for the page about her, and also saying that she would keep in contact with me... She hasn't. It's very hard for me to keep from sending email over and over trying to coax her out. I can't understand it. In all the letters and emails I send to people, I include a paragraph saying that I will understand if someone does not wish to remember his or her time at McNair. So, I keep myself from sending email... And I hate it. I absolutely hate it.

I am in email contact with a couple more friends from my time back then, Mr. RS(*) and Mr. WD(*). One of them took a couple of pictures of old photos and attached them to one of his emails. Talk about a tantalizer! If he finds the time to scan and send me the rest of his photos, then I'll be in heaven. I recognize both of these people from their photos, but our paths didn't cross often while we were at McNair. Doesn't matter. In the months since I've had my McNair pages on the web, I've talked on the phone with a few other McNair people. Some of these are people that I didn't really know back then. Even so, we've talked for many enjoyable hours. I guess it's always possible to find a common interest when we've both spent years at that place.

Still no word from any more of the core group of friends I am looking for. It's frustrating... and saddening.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)

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28 June: Three more letters went out to Germany last week. These are just about the last leads I have for my German friends. These are pretty long shots but I had a few International Reply Coupons left so decided to go ahead and use them up.

I'll be gone this weekend so my next Blog entry will be late. We're going up to Carlsbad to attend a wedding. Maybe I'll be lucky and have some email from an old friend when I return.


2006: July

09 July: I'm back from some time in Carlsbad and am now playing bachelor for a week or so. Angie and Keisha left the day after we got back from Carlsbad and went to Amarillo to go visit her brother.

While in Carlsbad, I managed to bring back a pile of old letters that my Dad had saved throughout the years. These are all letters from me to my parents and family while I was over in Germany. I spent an enjoyable few hours glancing through them. Lots of good information. Field exercise names, people names, stuff like that. While I won't be putting these letters on my Web Site, I will make use of the information in them.

Still no word from any more of my old friends... as I head into my 7th month of looking. Well, not so much looking anymore as my leads have dried up. More like hoping that I'll hear from one of them.

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17 July: Added a couple of new pages to the Germany part of my web, Bits and Pieces and Thanks. Bits and Pieces show some images and stuff that I only have one or two photos of, or that I just can't find a category for. Thanks is just a public acknowledgement of the deeds from some recent friends.

On 28 June, I had sent three more letters out to Germany. Two of them went to the current addresses of names of people I knew in Germany. The third went to a 27 year old address of another name. Well, my Web Site received positive hits from Germany on 11 and 13 July which would be around the time the letters arrived. One looked at 4 pages and the other at 2 pages. The one that looked at 4 pages was from the letter I sent to B.B, I think, or from Hessen which is the "state" that Hoechst is in. The one that looked at 2 pages was from the Koeln and Bonn area. I am pretty sure that was from the letter to A.K. No email from any of these people though. I guess that means that the people are not who I am looking for, or are but they did not contact me. Bummer.

I am still going through the letters to home I brought back on 09 July. Lots and lots of information in them.

I was just awarded another big bid for my side business. Lots of work ahead.


2006: August

06 Aug: I've been slowly going through the letters I sent home while I was stationed at McNair. I wrote nearly every week for awhile so this part of my McNair project will take some time. Mostly, these letters are clearing up names, dates, and a few things I had forgotten. The most important thing I learned is that I was originally stationed in C Company, not D Company as I had originally thought. Oh well. I guess I should have kept a diary. Yea, right. Like I had the time to set down and write "Worked. Ate. Slept." every day...

Still getting visitors to my web site from computers in Germany but no email yet. One person or persons has come in once a month for the past three months, checks out about 10 pages, then disappears again. Who, who, who could it be???

Had a nice long phone conversation with R.T. just a couple of days ago. This is another case of someone I never ran into while we were there. The call was great and I think we both finished the call with a flood of remembered memories. For example, I had totally forgotten about "Fasching" until he mentioned it on the phone. Man, that's what it's all about.

The webmaster of http://www.usarmygermany.com/ added links to me on various pages of his enormous site. The site is about all of the U.S. Army in Germany.

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13 Aug: A bit of housekeeping on the Web Site is about all that I've done this passed week. That and continue to go through my old letters home. I've changed the background on part of each page from blue to white to give the text a bit more contrast. I also greatly reduced the initial size of the photos so the pages will load quicker. That's it...

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20 Aug: No one has heard from Mr. R.R(*) in the last month or so. My emails to him have gone unanswered. Other people are apparently having the same problem. I am worried.

I received my new computer last Thursday. Port... port... port the data over all weekend. Love the dual monitors though.

And that's it, except for the lightning and all the work for me that comes with it...

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27 Aug: Lots and lots of visitors from Germany this month. Some coming in daily for awhile. I am guessing that news of my web site is traveling around from friend to friend over there.

I finished archiving my letters home, at least the ones I've found so far. I guess the next thing on the list is to post all the photos that have trickled in lately. It will have to wait a bit, though. Lightning season is in full bloom and my workload shows it.

I had sent a letter to Germany on 20 June, 2006. It went to a 27 year old address of a friend. The letter was returned to me this week. It was returned from Hoechst due to insufficient address as far as I can tell. This is bad news in that the address was my last hope of finding this particular person. This is good news, however, because it means that all the other letters I sent to Germany probably made it to someone at least... if not the person I was looking for.


2006: September

03 Sep: Lightning struck my 40' tower here at the house two days ago (Friday). I was in the front yard when it hit. I have lightning protection on all of my equipment but apparently it wasn't enough to protect from a direct hit. So far I've lost:
My laptop... my router/wireless box... the internal network port on my daughters computer... and both of my monitors are looking psychedelic.
New stuff is already on the way.

Mr V.R.(*) and I are doing the machine gun email stuff almost daily. Interesting gentleman. Also, a new contact, S.E.(*) is tantalizing me with some very interesting photos and even more interesting memories.

Still nothing from the core group. I am patient... somewhat.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)

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24 Sep: Not much to report since 03 Sep. I talked with MS (*) again today. We're trying to set up schedules to spend some time together. He lives 1,500 miles away so it'll take some planning. I always wanted to go deep sea fishing though... During our call, he brought up the name of another mutual friend he was looking for. He had tried a couple of phone numbers for our friend but they weren't good numbers. Well, I hung up the phone and decided to do some digging...

And I found him! Another old friend, DD (*), was found using military.com, whitepages.com, and a few other tricks I have up my sleeve. We share many mutual friends and spoke for a few great moments. He even reminded me of the name of something... Don't ask. We exchanged some vitals and hung up the phone on a good note I think. This is amazing and comes after a very long lull in rewards for my efforts. I only hope he takes a few moments to pick up the phone and call MS (*). I think he will enjoy it. I also look forward to hearing from him again, If only to compare notes.

And that is the good news.

Bad news is that no one has heard from Mr. E (*) in about a month now. Mr. E is instrumental in keeping me motivated and I hope his silence is caused by something benign.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)


2006: October

01 Oct: Had to go to the "Mother Ship" for work early this week. The "Mother Ship" is what I call corporate headquarters over in Abilene. I had to make meetings on Tuesday so was gone Monday through Wednesday. While I was there, we decided to go eat at a Chinese restaurant. I haven't eaten at a Chinese restaurant in forever and I don't think I have ever gotten a fortune cookie before. Well I got one and this is what it said.

I guess that God sure has a sense of humor at times.

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08 Oct: I found an old list of names from Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Dated August 1976, this list shows full names and Social Security Numbers of about 48 people that graduated in my 31M20 school at Ft. Gordon, Ga. Four people in that list were stationed in Germany. Three of them at McNair Kaserne. I took that info and tracked two of the names to possible addresses and phone numbers. I didn't want to impose myself too much so I decided against phone calls and, instead, sent letters. Wait and see time now...

Another name leads me to a quandary. The SSN lead me to a Social Security Death Index (SSDI) entry that shows this gentleman passing away on 05 June 2006! If I had only been a bit quicker in my search... But wait a minute. There's something wrong here. The only things that match between my paper and the SSDI entry is the SSN and the first name. The middle and last names are completely different and I can't figure out why. I end up posting an inquiry on MILITARY.COM to see if anyone can help me clear this up...

In case anyone is interested, today is the 4 month anniversary of my decision to quit smoking.

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27 Oct: Another friend found! One of the two letters I mailed on 08 Oct 2006 hit pay dirt. Mr. P.O.(*) took the chance of giving me a cardiac arrest and called me after receiving my letter. We had a great conversation as we caught each other up on our 30 years absence. What was particularly interesting is how much some parts of our lives paralleled each other. Of course, the call was far to short for my tastes but I think we both needed time to digest. I sent a letter a few days later and included in it some things I thought he might be interested in. Now, just like the time I found M.S.(*), I wait...

The other letter I sent on 08 Oct was returned with "insufficient address". Oh well. Additionally, the information I found in the SSDI about a third friend was mostly verified by P.O. Rats.

It's beginning to look like McNair Kaserne will have a reunion next year. This is great... and frightening.

(*Not his real initials or sex...maybe.)


2006: November

05 Nov: October had the most visitors to my web site ever. 242 individuals looked at my pages 1584 times, downloading a total of 1.12 GB of data in the process. OK, so it's not up there with Ebay's popularity. I am still impressed at the numbers compared to other web sites I maintain.

It looks like Mr. E (*) has dropped out of circulation. A mutual friend of his asked me to look into why Mr. E had stopped answering her Email and phone messages. Well, we did something pretty drastic to find out that he is OK, which is what we were most worried about. I guess he just doesn't want to talk right now. I miss him greatly but I must respect his privacy. Besides, I am patient... and I thank him for his contributions.

Once, oh, about 4 years ago, I received a phone call from an old High School friend. It was totally out of the blue but we had a nice phone conversation that evening. A few days later, this friend stopped by my house on one of his numerous business trips. It was about 2 hours out of his way which isn't far considering the distances around here. We spent most of the evening having a great time reminiscing and comparing notes about the past. He left rather late that evening, having refused our offer of a bed. I haven't heard from him since.

I now think I know why he took time out of his busy life to come see me. You see, I now find myself in his shoes... wanting to remember, reminisce, and make sure that all my old friends have found peace in the world. Also, perhaps, to apologize to one or two.

It's a consuming passion. I miss my old friends.

(*Not his real initials or sex ...maybe.)

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26 Nov: I think Ulrika visited my web site a few days ago. Ulrika was a German national friend of mine, part of a great group of friends that came to me courtesy of Christine. We were casual friends, I remember taking her to dinner a few times. Anyhow, she hasn't emailed me yet. I think I found her email, address, and photo but I will not send her email. If she wants to contact me, then she now knows how. I'm not trying to be snobbish at all, I am just respecting the fact that she may not wish to receive email from me... And I wait.


2006: December

17 Dec: I found Beate Bieber's first husband. I called and he wasn't there so I left a message. He hasn't called back. This happens sometimes. It's one of the things that I never anticipated when I started this McNair stuff. I don't understand it, nor do I like it. I have to respect the persons decision though. Perhaps he thinks I am an old boyfriend of Beate's. I wasn't. Beate was probably my best friend while I was over there. She is a truly remarkable person.

31 Dec: The end of a very turbulent year. It's hard to believe that nearly an entire year has passed since my mid-life crises erupted and propelled me into searching for my old friends. What have I accomplished with all my work and searching? Well, I have found 4 of the 12 people in my current list of old friends. Not bad I guess but the last 8 friends will be a lot harder to find, If I ever find them at all.

And what of the 4 old friends that I have found? Well, a friendship has been totally rekindled in one case. Two other old friendships are headed there, but time and distance are proving to be a problem. And the last friend? Well, she has only sent a single email, then stopped all contact. It is frustrating in that she is one of the fondest remembered of my old friends and also one that I never would of thought would do this to me. I made a promise when I was setting up my game plan though. That promise is that I would respect anyone's privacy. As much as I hate it, it seems only right. I wait and wait and wait and hope that she comes to understand my motives and desires and realizes that I just want to know how her life has gone.

I've also made many new friends that once lived at McNair. In a few cases I have helped old friends reunite after decades apart. Once or twice I have received an email from one person or another saying how happy he is to be reunited and how much he appreciates the work I did to make it happen. Emails like that help. It keeps me motivated. Well, that and the hope that I'll soon receive an email from another old friend; an email that starts with something like "Hey, man, where have you been!"

I'm still here, guys.


GO TO MY 2007 ENTRIES

GO TO MY 2008 ENTRIES


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