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Posts Tagged ‘old times’

Years ago, in what seems like previous lifte time, I was a member of one of the first social media attempts, Gather. It was promoted to me as a place where writers could post their work and get feedback and develop collegial relationships. I was really into developing my writing so I joined. I enjoyed it but there were so many people there for many reasons other than for writing. There were photographers sharing their work; foodies sharing their insights; technical types imparting their knowledge; and so many people just there for the points and money. Yes, it was a site where members could earn points for the content they posted and the comments and views their content garnered. Points could be turned in for cash (via PayPal) or gift cards. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of junk there, too. I did develop some wonderful relationships which are still some of my closest friends although I have never met most of them. And I am happy to say that a few are still my most loyal blog readers. At one time, there was a group of us that met through Gather that all started or revived blogs. Most are no longer blogging but we are still in touch via Facebook.

Facebook brings me to another point about Gather, which is actually what inspired this post. Recently, one member has started a Facebook group devoted to finding old Gather members so everyone can get in touch with old friends. It’s a great idea for a lot of the old Gather members. The site, you see, disintegrated rather suddenly. The whole thing was sold to a Japanese company that promised they would maintain the site and develop it further. They didn’t. And then there was a lot of fighting and “ganging up” on some members and then it was suddenly shut down with no notice. I stopped “gathering” quite awhile before that happened. Someone emailed me and said it might happen so I went in and cashed in all of my points and never looked back. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to think that the content would remain online so I didn’t back up any of my stuff. I lost a lot of my writing and a lot of pictures that I no longer have anywhere. I still have my friends. There was a group of maybe fifty or so of my closest “gatherites” (Spell Check is going crazy on this post) that remained in touch. One member, Lydia, who some of you might remember died a couple of years ago, bought membership on another site where she started a group for us to keep in touch and post our stuff or just “talk to each other.” I no longer remember the name of that site or if it is even around anymore. And if it is still around, without Lydia, I’m sure our slot was not paid for so isn’t there anymore. More of my stuff lost! I don’t care so much about that as much as I care about losing the conversations and the memories we shared, especially with the members that have passes as there have been five or six that I can recall that have passed.

In any case, I know I’m rambling, Gather brought back a lot of memories for a lot of us, not all of them are good memories. A lot of the Gather members no longer want to have anything to do with any of it so it has been interesting to see the efforts of this guy (his name is Thomas) as he attempts to revive the old relationships. I’ve been sort of helping as a Moderator for the group. Mostly, Thomas wants me to help him navigate through some of the stuff he didn’t expect to encounter, such as people who are adamantly against him renewing anything related to Gather. A lot of the problems have revolved around privacy issues that he didn’t anticipate or understand so I’m sort of there to tell him when I think he might encounter some resistance. He kind of runs things by me. I don’t mind doing it. I am sort of in a middle point. I don’t necessarily want to get in touch with any of the members that I’m not now in touch with but I have enjoyed one member in particular who has posted a few of his new writings. I used to really enjoy his stuff so I am glad that I’m reading his work again. And if anyone has saved some of my stuff, it would be good to have that. Yes, we are finding that some people printed out a lot of the stuff and have reams upon reams of Gather content saved.

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about today. I’m thinking about a lot of things actually. I’ve sort of been quiet here but that’s because of my glasses. I still don’t have the new ones. They came in but when I went to pick them up they had not made them right so they had to go back so another two weeks of being semi blind is keeping me from a lot of reading and writing, especially online where I have the back lighting to contend with.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to post again later today or tomorrow. And I will be coming around to read blogs, too. I’ve caught up a tiny bit but but there’s still so many I need to read.

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I mentioned yesterday that my three grown kids were at a wedding for a cousin on their father’s side. The two girls were sharing a hotel room and will be flying home together tonight. I’ll be picking them up (at the crack of midnight) tonight. I may have forgotten to mention that they were in my home town.

While driving around Japan Town in search of nice chop sticks and some rice bowls for the boys, they ended up near the house where I grew up. They texted me to ask which street. Was it 5th Street? I replied with the street address on 7th Street and the cross street. A little bit later, they texted me a picture of the house. It is very well kept and looks amazing. It’s a Victorian with a full basement, two kitchens, two bathrooms (at least when I lived there), a bay window in the living room, and a very large backyard. It has been painted a nice, pale pink. I had never seen it painted anything but white, even in the years after I moved away and went back for drive bys, the last one being about eight years ago.

I looked it up on Zillow and found that it last sold four years ago for almost $500,000 and the estimated sale price for a sale now is $978,000. It has some amazing upgrades. Indeed, much work has been put into it since my parents bought it for $8,000 around 1957. You can read about the main improvement here and here.

It got me to wondering if it was still the same house. The outside certainly is and from the photos on Zillow, the living room is basically the same with the big bay window with mosaic glass at the top. Some of the features that were there when I lived there are still there, or at least recognizable. In fact, the claw foot bathtub is still there. Not sure if it is the one that we used or if it has been replaced but it’s there.

Do the walls still remember the laughter we marked them with or the tears? Do the floors bear the tears from all the falls we took on them? And the basement we built? Is it still dark and does it still remember the spooky stories my big brothers told us all those years ago? The yard. I see in the photos that most of the fruit trees my father planted are gone. The garage is gone. Does the yard remember the laughter of the children who played there? I certainly recognized the front yard; the place where we ran through the sprinklers in the summer time; where we played with hula hoops given to us by our neighbors across the street; the place where our games of hide-and-seek and red light green light, and tag you’re it all began. The sidewalk in front of our house was where we could stand to watch Fourth of July fireworks set off at the Spartan Stadium about five miles away.

Is it the same house? Do our memories haunt it or do its memory haunt us?

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What do you do when someone dies and they are in you address book or contacts or Facebook feed?

I struggle with this all the time. I still won’t get rid of the address book that I used over thirty years ago when my brother died. His name and address and phone are in there and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it even though none of the addresses are any good.

And then there’s Facebook where my other brother’s name  pops up. And where my friend Lydia’s (who died in January) name, picture and comments keeps popping up in my Memories Feed.

When I was updating my old phone yesterday (my most recent phone died so I am resurrecting my previous phone) I came across phone numbers for my one of my brothers who died awhile back. And some of my friends who are no longer with us, Lydia, Sally, Dan, Jody, and some others. I couldn’t bring myself to delete them from my phone.

Of course, this means that I will keep seeing their names and pictures. Yes, I get sad when I see them and they aren’t here anymore. Sometimes I can’t keep myself from tearing up. I know that I should think of good times with them but that’s tough. I eventually do but the tears still come.

What do you do?

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Reunion Round Up

I’ve attended four high school reunions and one college reunion. After the third high school reunion, I said I would never attend another. I said the same after the one college reunion. This year, my high school had a multi-year reunion and my college is having a class reunion for my year (1978). I definitely have no desire to go to the college reunion, even if they paid me to go. However, when it came to the high school reunion, although I had pretty much decided not to go, I kept getting more and more curious as the event got closer and closer. Then, my daughter who moved from Baltimore to Santa Rosa after college graduation last month, called and reminded me that I had some of her furniture at my house and she could use if the next time I went to California. That clinched it. I decided to go to the reunion and take my daughter her furniture. A friend even helped out with the cost by inviting me to stay at her house for the weekend. That was a bonus and a “sign” that I was meant to go.

I must say that the best way to approach any kind of reunion is with no expectations whatsoever. Then you are sure not to be let down. The reunion was more than I expected, not only because I had such low expectations, but because it was quite good. I think that the best part was being in a room full of people with a common background and who shared the school’s history. Because it was a multi-class reunion (1969 to 1979) most of us knew a lot of people there, either personally or through siblings.

So, the company was good, (with the exception of a few who proved to still be who they were in high school with no growth whatsoever). The food was delicious. The music was, for the most part, excellent, but way too loud for a small enclosed room (and for many deaf and nearly deaf ears). The camaraderie was there. It couldn’t be missed. It sure made the evening the success it was.

Will I go to another? I don’t know. I guess it depends on where I am in my life at that point. Maybe I’ll go back to the no more reunions attitude.

I’m still processing the weekend. There are many stories to be written from the events and characters to be created. I supposed you’ll read about all that here if you keep coming back. Not sure when it will be but it’s coming.

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