Today a call came through our customer support line at work and one of my team answered and the caller asked for me. My team is pretty well trained to not just transfer anything to me and when speaking to customers, they know that they need to first try to assist them before transferring to anyone – let alone me. This caller must have been persistent though as finally my rep called out to me across the room that she had a Doug S on the line and he wants to speak to me and he doesn’t have an order. Big red flags in her book and I’m surprised she didn’t cut him off and tell him to contact the general email box if he wanted to make contact. Something made her ask though and as soon as she did, my mind flashed to a Doug S from my childhood that I think of and wonder about from time to time.
I took the call and he announced himself and, so incredulous was I that this was THE Doug S that I had known, that I made him verify who his sister’s name is. He named her and so I astoundedly greeted him with the kind of “holy cow, what are you doing, how are you, what are you up to, how did you find me, how’s the family, what is going on?” flood of words that no one can answer in the responding sentence.
Doug and his sister are children of a couple that my parents were really good friends with for several years when we were growing up. Because our parents were all friends and would get together, we too hung out quite often as a result of the parents congregating. Doug was my age and his sister was just a year or two younger (as I recall).
Doug began the conversation explaining that his sister had just been going through some old photos at their parents home and came across one of me and so she sent it to him as a quiz to see if he would recognize who was in the photo. He said that he immediately knew it was me and decide to just look me up and give me a call. He had thought about our family often over the years and figured today was the day to finally see where we all were. He said he found a link to me in CO and then followed that and found my workplace and well, we were there speaking, so I knew the rest. He said he wouldn’t take up my work time, so he provided his number and said to give him a call when I had time.
I had to admit that I too would think of him and his family over the years. They were such a great family to be around. I did try to look them up several years ago after Mom and Dad passed away. I wanted to know if their old friends were still around or not and of course I wanted to know what happened to Doug and his sister. The problem was, I had no idea where they had moved as his dad was a minister and like any pastor, they would move around as called to do.
I don’t quite recall what age we were when they moved from our nearby town to across the state, but we did still keep in touch for several years after they moved. I can remember still visiting them for quite a few years. I remember Doug coming to see me at Ohio State my freshman year, but after that, we seemed to be on our own paths and lost touch.
I finished up work, made a stop at the grocery on the way home, made dinner and then sat down and called my old pal. No, his voice was not the same as it had been 40 years ago (yes, believe it or not, it has been that long), but his energy, inflections, and caring attitude was the same. We still talked easily and it was really great to think back on some of the stories and antics that happened. He said it was easy to think of me as he still sports the scar on his foot from when I tried to get him to ride our cow named Queen and in pushing him on, I accidently pushed him over and off the other side and he fell off and cut his foot open on whatever sharp thing happened to be below him when he fell. I could hardly believe that he even remembered the cow’s name.
We found out we had many common threads in our lives. We both had gotten married at about the same time in our lives and have stayed married. We both had a couple of kids. He is ahead of me with grandkids, but I’ll give him that one. He was sorry about my parents passing in the years prior and said he had been saddened to hear it at the time. He was very fond of all of our family just as I was of his, and it’s sad to think that they are gone. Luckily, his parents are still mostly well and live near him.
I relayed that I’ve been going through a few tough months with Ted’s passing. He relayed that he couldn’t comprehend personally since he hadn’t gone through it, but I could feel his sincerity in being a bit heartbroken for me. We finished the conversation with a promise that we wouldn’t wait another 40 years to have the next conversation.
I got off of the phone and felt good. It was a nice reminder that while I am kinda caught up in grieving what I have had for the past 33 years in marriage, it is just a portion of the memories I have in total and I’m not just defined by being a wife or widow or mom or co-worker or friend, or any one thing. I have lots of stories and people and events and experiences that have stitched together this fabric of life that I pull around me. It was nice to be surprised by the past showing up and in seeing that, it made more room for envisioning wonderful moments that will cross my path in the future.
Thank you Doug for the reach out and catching up.