Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Internet Is Amazing (Or Scary!)

Back in the early years of my parents' marriage when I was a baby, it was still uncommon to see a mixed marriage in the Boston area. So much so that my parents remember strangers stopping them on the street so they could peer into the carriage and see what I looked like.  There were no international aisles in supermarkets back in those days, so my dad would have to take my mom to Chinatown to shop for familiar Asian ingredients. 

Considering this, it wasn't so weird that when my parents were out shopping one day, a woman came up to my parents and asked if my mom was Korean.  Turned out, her nephew had also been stationed in Korea while in the military and had married a Korean woman, and both were now living in Massachusetts. The woman gave my parents her nephew's phone number (people were more trusting in the 70s!)and this was the start of a great friendship for my mom, someone from that she could talk to in her native language.

As it turned out, my parents were only in the area for few more years before they moved back to Korea and started hop skipping around the Pacific.  The last time my parents lived in MA, Amy was a wee baby, and need I point out that Amy just turned 29? As these were the days before the Internet and Facebook, my mom eventually lost touch with her friend but never forgot her.

Now that my parents are back in Massachusetts, my mom has been thinking more about her friend and her whereabouts. Thinking about it yesterday, I did a simple Google search using the woman's name (thankfully, her name was unique enough).  Through sites like Spokeo (you may want to type your own name into that and see what pops up, it's scary how much is out there but you can choose to block the information), I was able to confirm that the woman I was looking for was living in Plymouth.  No phone number popped up but I did have an address.

We had Andrew's parents check a Plymouth phone book for a listing, but hit a dead end there.  Using the woman's daughter's name in a search, I found the daughter's LinkedIn profile (social networking site for job searching/business, it's basically a person's resume posted online) and realized she had gone to Plymouth North, the same high school Andrew, Amanda and Adam had attended. In fact, she seemed close in age to Amanda and would've attended the same year or the year before.  Now enlisting Amanda's investigative skills, she was able to find the girl's profile in Facebook since they have mutual friends from Plymouth (the girl's name was too common for me to find through searching on Facebook by myself). 

That is where we stand today. My mom wants to wait until she's settled into her own house before trying to establish contact. I figure I will send a Facebook message to the daughter, explain my mother's attempts to find her mom, and provide a phone number should her mom want to talk to my mom.

Technology can be truly amazing and I hope this is the start to re-establishing a past friendship. But a little part of me is amazed at what kind of information you can find on the Internet these days with just a name and general knowledge of location!


newlywed said...

That's amazing! That spokeo site is crazy!

bcallegra said...

Newlywed, I should've named the post "Internet - amazing, Spokeo - Scary!" Andrew's brother Adam had clued us in about Spokeo last year and the whole family promptly removed themselves from it.

bcallegra said...

PS - For anyone that wants to remove their Spokeo information, use this link: