Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Power of the Blog

Bill (on the right in the bib overalls) and mother and sisters and step brother 1932

Want to know why I blog?  I've asked and answered this question before and have given several different answers the main one being that I just like to write.  But another reason is that I'm reaching out.  Perhaps I didn't consciously realize that I was reaching out but that has been the result of several of my blog postings this year.

One of my blog postings this year was recounting my first sexual experience.  In that blog posting I posted the Social Security Death Index name of the man with whom I first shared an intimate relationship with in 1963.  From that name being posted on my blog his son, who has the same name, found my blog posting through an Internet search engine.  He contacted me.  He told me that he and his family had known of rumors that his father was gay but never had any real proof until he read my blog. 

He told me that his mother had written a book about that period of his father's life.  I was able to purchase the book from Amazon.com and had the surreal experience of reading about my paramour's life from the "other side."  While I was never mentioned directly in his mother's book (they didn't know my name), she does mention her husband disappearing at times for places unknown.  Those places "unknown" sometimes were my apartment.  

Thus I was able to fill in a chapter of my life that, if not for blogging and the Internet, I would never have known about before.

Now this week comes about another situation.  This past summer I wrote about the trip my partner Bill and I took down to his hometown of Toccoa, Georgia this past summer.  One of the items of information in that blog I wrote the name of Bill's step-father, whose grave site we visited.  From the mention of that name, Bill's nephew contacted me through my blog.  This was a very unique situation because Bill has been estranged from his family for 48 years.  The falling out came after Bill's Mother's funeral.  

In all the years since her funeral, Bill cut off contact with his family. Because we have moved several times over the years since Bill cut off contact, they didn't know where Bill lived.  Bill's nephew was only four years old at the time of the funeral.  He didn't know why contact was cut off.  All he knew was that "Uncle Buddy" (as Bill is known to his family), disappeared.  He and his family assumed that Bill had died.  Thus it came with some surprise that Bill's nephew was able to find Bill through an Internet search of his grandfather's (Bill's step-father) name.

Even though his nephew contacted me this past summer, I was reluctant to let Bill know.  I have always wanted Bill to reunite with his family but he was always adamantly against it.  I didn't want to upset him by telling him that someone from his family had contacted me through a blog posting I had made.  His nephew and I have been in contact all this time.  I told the nephew that I would tell Bill when I felt it was right.  

This past week I took the big step.  His nephew had sent me some pictures of their family, including one of Bill when Bill was only five years old.  Bill has never seen this picture.  

The opportunity came this Sunday when Bill and I were joking about how ugly we have become since we got old (something we do all the time to avoid facing the reality that we really are ugly old men now.)  I told Bill "I found a picture of you as a 5 year old brat on the Internet."  Of course Bill thought I was joking.  I told him to come to my computer and I would show him the picture.  I showed it to him and he still didn't believe me.  The picture (which is the one pictured at the top of this blog posting) is of Bill, his two sisters, his Mother and Bill's step-brother, the uncle of the nephew who contacted Bill.  

Bill still didn't believe me even though was looking at the picture.  Then I showed him some other pictures that his nephew had sent of his family and his mother.  Bill looked at the pictures and, with jaw agape, asked "how did you get these pictures?"  I told him but he was still unbelieving.  

Actually, I am in awe of the power of the Internet and what a simple blog posting has done to change the course of someone's life.  This is just incredible what has happened with Bill and his family.  For years I have wanted him to be reunited with his family.  

Bill is now in e-mail contact with his nephew.  He says he wants to meet him and yet doesn't because meeting him will stir up all the old memories he has tried to bury these past 48 years.  

Bill and I were planning on returning to his hometown of Toccoa this spring.  I am confident that Bill will meet his nephew and, hopefully, his one remaining surviving sister.  This is something I've been hoping for ever since I've known Bill.  We all have differences with our families but we only have one family.  Life is just too short to carry grudges to our graves. 

The next time when someone asks me why I blog I'll tell them my stories and how blogging has changed my life and others for the better.  

That is why I blog.


Mark said...

That really is wonderful! I do love connecting with people who I haven't seen in a billion years. My Mom is as bull headed as Bill sounds. She was contacted by her 1/2 brother after 40plus years via Facebook. She closed her account with Facebook 5 minutes after that. Sad.
Your Friend, m.

Ron Tipton said...

You are right on the mark, Bill is very bullheaded. Thank goodness there is someone in this relationship who is reasonable. That would be me. I'm always up for a reunion with people I haven't seen in a billion years. Life is too short to hold grudges. I'm not carrying any grudges to my grave.

Ur-spo said...

well said!
I am very grateful for blogging - otherwise I would never have met so many lovely people - like you !

Ron Tipton said...

Thank you Spo. I feel the same way about you. I met some really cool people though my blog that I would never have met if I hadn't blogged. I too am grateful.