I recently discovered an email from someone who was looking for her old friend, me. As one who has done a lot of ‘searching’ for others of former acquaintance or friend, I was surprised to find someone was looking for me! I last saw my friend around 1994 when I attended her wedding to her second husband. So nearly 20 years have transpired between our contacts.
My friend, whom I will call “Dobbs”, and I worked together for several years in Virginia, as social workers in the same foster care/child protection unit. Not only were we ‘partners’ in conducting our work – she doing the intake, and I doing the follow-up – we were also on the same emergency call team for off-hours child protective services. We had lunch together nearly every day. In addition, we were ‘partners in crime’ both within the context of our jobs, and in other ways as well.
In the months before both of our marriages disintegrated we became ‘detectives’ – literally. It seems that we both had unresolved relationships that needed to be addressed. And so we began our searches for our old boyfriends. Mine had been ‘lost’ in Georgia and Viet Nam. Hers had been ‘lost’ in Pennsylvania and the U. S. Navy. As social workers, one of our responsibilities was to locate missing parents, so we naturally developed skills in investigation. These skills we applied, very successfully, to finding and eventually making contact with our ‘lost’ loves.
Dobbs and I took a trip to Norfolk, VA to re-experience some of the places that had meaning, especially for locating her Navy beau. In addition I contacted a friend, not an old beau, but a significant person in my life, to catch up with each other’s lives.
Dobbs and I both had a desire to actually become bona fide detectives, with the idea of creating a private investigation agency to find lost and missing persons. We enrolled in the Virginia certification class and took a week’s vacation time to attend at Lynchburg Community College. We both passed the exam, and ‘interned’ with a local detective to develop more skills. I received my private investigator license and worked for him for about six months until I went back to school for a masters degree.
As it turned out Dobbs and I didn’t set up that agency. She got divorced and moved to Washington, D.C., taking a job with social services there. I went back to school. Eventually Dobbs returned to Virginia and married again, finding her place within the Virginia Department of Social Services. And I eventually moved to Denver to find a job there with the city.
When I saw the recent email from Dobbs I couldn’t help but joke about her still ‘detecting’ to find people ‘of interest’. Within a few days we had a wonderful phone conversation to fill each other in on the last 20 years. Dobbs divorced her second husband and is now re-married to that lost love from Pennsylvania and the U. S. Navy. After finding my lost love I went to visit him for a week, and we made plans to see each other again. That plan didn’t work out, and I once again lost contact with him. It is my feeling that he passed away.
We just never know as we go through this life who we will impact, who will remember us, love us, or want to reconnect with us. It is a mystery. A mystery that sometimes we can solve! And those who pass through our lives, although we may not ever see them again, are never lost, because we carry them with us in our memories.