Facebook leads to unexpected trip down memory lane

Published 12:01 am Saturday, August 1, 2015

Recently, I spent a weekend traveling down memory lane.

The journey actually started 40 years ago when I began my freshman year at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo.

I was assigned to Walther Hall, second floor, on the south side of the building.

Thus the name of our dorm – Walther second south or W-2-S. I got to know many other girls, who came from different states across the country.

During those four years of college, I made friends that I still keep in touch with today; but most of them I haven’t seen in 35 to 40 years.

About six months ago, three friends decided to plan a reunion weekend.

Since we graduated various years in the mid-1970s, it was unlikely we’d all come back for our college homecoming the same year.

One friend located a lodge in Branson, Mo., that we could lease for a weekend. Using Facebook and then email, the sisters of W-2-S contacted about 20 friends now living in 12 states.  The group chose a date in July.

One dorm sister designed and ordered T-shirts for our reunion. The weekend included a tour of our college campus and a walk through our dorm to see our empty rooms, awaiting the students who will move in mid-August.

One by one, we arrived at the lodge to hugs and joyful laughter. Yearbooks and photo albums, which we were encouraged to bring, helped us recall people and experiences that seemed to have happened only yesterday. “Anybody know whatever happened to…..?” we delighted in learning every detail.

The first night we were together at the lodge, three friends began searching online for one of our classmates with whom we’d all lost contact. Through the years, several of us had searched for Sue. A Christmas card I’d sent many years ago had been returned with no forwarding address. The last anyone knew about her whereabouts was in 1995 when two friends found her in Jonesboro, Ark. By then, she was married and had a young daughter.

A phone number that a friend came across online during the months of reunion planning turned out to be someone who had never heard of Sue. But, we were determined to try again. Our three “detectives” searched Facebook and googled her name. Then, someone recalled her daughter’s name, and discovered her 21-year-old daughter’s obituary from 2005. At that time, Sue was still living in Jonesboro.

To make the long story short, we found Sue through one of her personal friends who signed the online guestbook of the funeral home. Sue replied to a private Facebook message and called the cell phone number we sent to her. She happened to be only 30 minutes away in her hometown of Harrison, Ark., completing the sale of her mother’s house. Sue arrived the next day to spend the rest of the weekend with us.

We thanked God for the blessing of this unexpected surprise and believed God brought us together “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), not just for our reunion. So we’ve contacted our college with a plan to encourage and pray for girls who will soon live on W-2-S. We trust our trip down memory lane connects us with today’s students.

-Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.