Thursday, August 18, 2011

Questions and Answers; Not! And a Confirmation and a Suggestion

So Linda, my wife says, Milt, you've got to find out who is interested in being in the directory and what they want included. Why don't you ask them using a Facebook question. Not being familiar with the gizmo, I say, sure, why not. So I put together a basic question and added options. It went something like this:

Question: Do you want to be included in the Wayne Valley '67 Class Directory? What do you want included in your listing. It's your choice. Remember, distribution is to classmates only.

And then I added the following options:

Facebook logo (to indicate that you're on Facebook
Short Bio

And folks, Diana Bonazza Koopman was the quickest on the draw to send back a response. That was great said I. This is going to be convenient and I'll have a single email acknowledgement for each classmate.

Then others started responding and instead of getting individual responses so I could tabulate them and make sure that their requirements were met in the directory, Lo and Behold, that's not the way it works. The Facebook question gadget works more like a poll, tabulating a cumulative answer and even though it posts a little profile pic next to the answers chosen, it is not clear if that is just that answer or an indicator that person responded. Not good enough for me. I do not want to include info that a classmate doesn't want included.

So we'll probably have to do this the non Facebook way, although Facebook email addresses (if I don't have regular ones) can still be utilized. I'll be sending an email with checkboxes that can be sent back to me. That way I'll have one form for every person responding and there will be less room for error. Besides which, there are still classmates who by whatever circumstance, are not online, and I'm enjoying my phone conversations too much not to pass up the opportunity to have another gab fest. I just have to remember to do the questionnaire with them.

So far, everyone has expressed great enthusiasm for the directory and the possibility of contacting others to whom their thoughts have strayed at one time or another.  Only two people, Joanne Taylerson and Ronda Roby, while happily telling me about what they've done these past years, expressed their desire to be listed only as alive and well, maintaining that they no longer have any real ties to the class. My response is that I respect their wishes, am so happy to be able to talk to them and learn that they are happy and well and on the topside of the dirt, and that the directory is electronic and can be changed instantly should they so choose to be listed more completely at sometime in the future.

So the lesson learned is this: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

I spoke to Louie Lotz a few days ago, and confirmed that yes, indeed, he was a pastor of many years. We had a lengthy discussion wondering how it is that our perception of time changes as our relative position on the thread of life progresses; and how our desire to look back seems to increase as time moves on. I told him that I believe that it is because there is more to look back upon then there is up ahead, not to say that what's up ahead isn't worth looking forward to! He talked about a personal past of which I was not aware, and I realized that everyone from our high school past had an inner life that high school friendships usually did not penetrate or that was carefully concealed. It is only in retrospect that we discover we have come to terms with those demons. I'm delighted to hear that Louis too, has found his (I was going to say Lotz in life) place in the world and is in a good place.

There are some professions that can truly be a calling. Nursing, law enforcement, the ministry, and educators. I am personally glad that there are still those called to fill those shoes. I am proud to say that there are many in our class who have filled those ranks, and I feel elated to hear that is the road they decided to travel and privileged to know them.

Hey, I know I'm a johnny-come-lately to the classmate business. I know I would have known sooner if I had been more involved in class affairs. But I guess that is precisely the point that I have been making. It is never too late.

And my thanks to those of you who have been following the blog, responding so enthusastically, and those who have provided information. Oh yeah, and this to that one anonymous sole (sic) who commented "who needs more of your crap": I reply, reading blogs is voluntary. Anonymity is the shield of cowards, made ever so much more convenient by the Internet. If you don't want to read it, don't.

Finally, I heard from Bob Wanek down in FL, who after reading the blog, made a few constructive suggestions. One, as you can see, I am embolding names, and I will also at Bob's suggestion provide a listing of who I have located or not. I'll probably do this on a website, without contact information, just for a running progress report. If anyone wants to use it, once it is up and running, to help fill in some blanks, the more the merrier. The structure can then be used later, with contact info (which I've got on a separate spreadsheet), to publish the directory.

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