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Column: 'Googling' to hook up with friend of past

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| April 2, 2009 12:00 AM

Trying to find a friend from the past can be an interesting and exciting endeavor but also filled with frustration and disappointment. But with all of the online aids these days, the possibility of hooking up with those you lost touch with has become easier than ever.

Every few years, I would attempt to see if I could find my college roommate from Nebraska. I’d enter his name into a search engine and see what results popped up. He has a fairly common name so figuring out who he might be was not all that easy.

Kirk and I shared a basement apartment – both of us living off-campus for our own reasons but at least in part because I had a dog and he had a cat. We got along pretty well as roommates, were good friends and even got part-time jobs together at a three-screen cinema that had been constructed in town.

After our sophomore years (we attended classes at McCook Community College), he transferred to Chico State out in California and I headed to Kearney State – also in Nebraska. We got together one time when we attended a friend’s wedding, but that was it.

Until this past Monday.

Sometime last week, it dawned on me that Kirk was my friend’s middle name. His first name was Douglas, and so I started searching for him once again using terms like Douglas, Chico and Nebraska to see what might come up. Finally, I got an interesting hit that showed his name as someone who had attended classes at Mid-Plains Technical College – and that is actually considered the home campus for McCook Community College.

My friend had entered some information onto a website that locates former classmates. I was able to use the site to send him an e-mail, although I wasn’t 100 percent sure I had the right person. It was worth a shot; the worst thing that could happen is that I might get an e-mail from someone informing me that he’s not the right person.

On Monday, he wrote back. And sure enough, I found Kirk.

The amazing part of the whole process is how similar our lives turned out. We both have daughters graduating from high school in May. His daughter wants to major in journalism in college. And the biggest coincidence is that we both named our sons, Brandon – they are three years apart in age.

Both of us only resemble the skinny, college kids with all that energy to take on the world. These days – at least in my case – my hair is falling out, the weight comes on a little too easy and my joints make strange noises if I turn my body a certain way.

Over the past month, I’ve also re-established contact with several other friends and relatives that I haven’t talked to or seen over the past few years … my cousin’s daughter who lives out in Florida … a former co-worker who now writes for a newspaper in Maine … a stepniece who ended up in Kansas … another co-worker and ex-roommate from my days as a college football writer.

So, if you have a former friend or lost family member, keep giving the Internet a try. Technology is an amazing thing.

(Brad Fuqua is managing editor at The Western News. He can be reached at thewesternnews@gmail.com )