Saturday, January 3, 2009

Telling An Old Family Friend The Sad Truth

Back in 2003, I was just starting out in genealogy.  I was 13 years old, had no idea what I was doing with genealogy, and I really only used as something to amuse myself with inbetween dance classes that I took at the performing arts center my mom worked at.

Well, I wanted to gain some information about my grandfather, Maxamillian Adolf Doerflinger.  So I went onto Ancestry, found their Doerflinger Surname Message Board, and went at it.  I posted a bried post asking for information about my grandfather.  I remember thinking that someone was going to respond and give me all the answers - that every question I could ever imagine would soon have an answer and the story of my Grandpa Max would be complete.  I checked back every day for weeks...knowing that the answers would eventually turn up on the page.

Before long, weeks went by and I lost hope in the post.  I eventually forgot that I had even posted it there.

Well, tonight I was bored and I thought I would make a quick google search for my uncle, Don Doerflinger.  As I quickly scanned over the results, one result caught my eye.  It was that post that I had made way back in 2003 - and it had a reply.

So I quickly went to the site and sure enough, a woman (who I'll call Susie for privacy) had responded, listing my Aunt Diane as an old friend from school and talking about my grandpa's welding work.  She even mentioned that my grandfather had given her a beautiful brass butterfly peice as a wedding gift.  I was enthralled.

Well...that is until she asked how my Aunt Diane was doing and she talked about how she would love to get in contact with her.  My heart dropped.  How could I possibly tell her that her old friend was now deeply schizophrenic and refusing to speak to most of the family?

After talking to my mom, I only felt worse.  Susie and Diane were good friends in high school who shared a lot of memories together.  And here I was - about to ruin it.

So, I reluctantly sent the email out.  It was difficult to write and I gave many pleas for Susie to contact me through email anyway - even if it was just to share an old story or two about my Grandpa Max.  I only hope that I didn't scare her away...and that she is willing to share with me some of her wonderful memories about my family.

P.S: I am sorry that I spent so much time talking about "the hunt", but I am still coming down from the wonderful genealogy high that one gets when finding a contact like this.


jacker said...
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