Have you seen any old friends recently? I mean really old? No, I don’t mean someone with a multitude of birthdays. I mean someone you knew a long time and haven’t seen for many years. We had someone like that in our home last night—someone we hadn’t seen in more than fifty years. That was what I was going to write, but during the day today some things started clicking, and I have an even greater “old friends” topic to write about.
This week someone sent me a piece of my family’s history. It is section of a page from a ship’s log, and it has my name on it. The ship was the Europa (I hope to learn more about it), and the date on the log is June 17, 1937. That was two days before my first birthday. My parents’ names are just ahead of mine, along with our ages, birth dates, and birth places. Ahead of our names on the list are the names of two missionary ladies who were a part of my childhood, and after ours are the names of the five members of the Wimer family.
When I first saw the ship’s log (sent to me by a friend whose brother ran across it during a search on Ancestry.com), I didn’t connect it to a picture I saw a few months ago. That picture was of a group of missionaries, including my parents and me, on a ship when I was small enough to sit on a lap.
Wait a minute! That’s the size I was at the time of the ship’s log, and some of the people in the picture are those whose names are on the log . . . oh, my! The two go together!
The picture was posted on Facebook by the widow of one of the young boys in the picture (I know "young boys" don't have widows, but you know what I mean). She and I have never met in person, but the fringes of our histories have overlapped, and that led us to becoming friends on Facebook.
I know this is an amazing age where technology almost daily helps us do or see things even our grandparents never imagined, but this one has me still shaking my head. The ship’s log and the picture started out in the same place, yes, but the log stayed with the shipping company and the picture went with members of one of the families’ in the picture. How can they, from totally unrelated sources and with no connection between them for almost three quarters of a century, have found their way to the same place now—-my computer?
Young Art Wimer was another lap child in that old picture. He’d also been born in Africa the year before. Some different connections between him and me lay far ahead in the future, but I’ll have to tell you about those some other day. (In the picture, I'm on the lap of the dark-haired lady fourth from the left; my parents are immediately on her left.)