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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cold Calling and the WWII Vet

Over the weekend I found myself dialing random numbers to Arkansas trying to find a friend. I don't know why I thought that dialing complete strangers in a small town in Arkansas would help me find who I was looking for, but sometimes I get these bizarre inhibitions to do crazy things like that. I wasn't sure it would work, but stranger things have happened.

My First Experience Cold Calling:

The first time I ever cold called strangers was when I lived in Idaho. In a desperate attempt to find relatives in Lubbock, Texas, I dialed over 200 phone numbers over the course of a week. Who knew printing off pages and pages of phone numbers on my friend's state of the art printer in college hooked up to her dial-up would take so long. Who knew that the last name attached to those phone numbers would be so common in Lubbock. Who knew my attempts to find this relative would end up a complete failure.

Complete and total failure.

My Second Experience Cold Calling:

I am not the kind of person who gives up easily.Some people call me stubborn and others call me stupid, but I like to refer to myself as tenacious. So what if my last attempt at calling 200 random strangers had ended in utter defeat--nothing is impossible. Again, I was on a hopeless journey of discovering the whereabouts of a long lost family member and this time had decided that Ohio would be the place to call. I picked up my cordless phone, punched in the numbers, and on the second try talked to the person that would get me in touch with relatives.

I was a believer.

My Third Experience Cold Calling:

After my last mighty undertaking of dialing random strangers I knew this time I'd find the person I was looking for. I opened up my trusty internet browser and whipped out my phone--all while my husband laughed at me in the background. I didn't pay him much attention, but instead focused my efforts of leaving messages on two dozen answering machines. That's when Ed picked up:

Ed: "Ma'am, can you guess about how old I am?"

Me: "Oh, I'd say about your late 60s to early 70s."

Ed: "Well, I am a World War II Vet and so that would put me well into my 80s. You know, I stayed awake many a night for you. It is so hard to stay awake sometimes when you're at war..."

Oh man, I couldn't hang up on a World War II veteran! So, that's when Ed led the conversation between us talking about fishing, farming, camping, Mexican Brown, folk music, and hippies with holes cut out in their shirts so their nipples would hang out. I don't make this stuff up. For forty minutes we chatted away; he seemed like he really needed someone to talk to. He seemed lonely. Then I thanked him for serving our country in World War II and we said our goodbyes, but not after he insisted I write down the address to his double-wide so I could be his pen pal. I may not have found the friend I was searching for in Arkansas, but I found Ed. Ed in Arkansas (and other veterans), thank you for serving our country.

Third time is a charm.


Chef E said...

Oh send me his address so I can write him too. He must get lonely, and a note card would make him feel like he does have a friend or two out there :)

My first instinct on this post is to say "I Love You", but if you did not know me you might think I was an utter loon...but you know how sincere I really make me smile...

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Oh goodness. You just reinforced my phone-phobia big time. But you also cracked me up!

DangGina said...

Aaaand...this is why I follow your blog. I love the way you write, and you share some great stuff. Ed in Arkansas sounds like he'll make a terrific pen pal. :)

Paulina said...

too funny. I'm with DangGina, "aaaaannnd this is why i follow your blog"


f8hasit said...

That's awesome!
There's this old guy (98...really Old) that comes into the pub that we go to often. His name is Chancey, we talk each time he's there. I hear many of the same stories, but it's alright. He's pretty interesting guy. Been through alot over the years. He was in WWI.
Love to bring the lonely a little smile!

Auntie Em said...

I would love his address too! I am working on the veterans history project and would love to talk/write to him. I bet you totally made his day!

cerealrat said...

Crazy story!

I live in Lubbock if you need me to track down a relative for you.

ForeverRhonda said...

That is awesome! I wouldn't have hung up on Ed either and I probably would write him sweet!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Chef E, Auntie Em, and others: Perhaps I can set something up where we I can send cards/letters to him.

Mindee, I promise I wont look you up and call you. Maybe. lol

DangGina and Paulina, Glad I made y'all laugh! Sometimes I wonder if I am a little to off the wall.

f8hasit, My husband's grandfather does the same thing...tells us all the same stories and jokes every time we see him. Even when we used to live right next door...

Cereal Rat, I may just hit you up on that!

Raine said...

Thats so nice! Im glad you called someone who needed someone to talk to.

Linn said...

What a really cool experience. My husbands grandpa is 98, he'll be 99 soon and I love the stories he tells. He's played poker with the devil and when he was a boy, his mom had to run off a witch with feet no bigger than a baby's. That's just to name a few.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Raine, It was definitely unexpected! Glad I was able to talk to him also.

Linn, What interesting stories he must tell. I thought the shirt/nipple story was weird, but I think your husband's grandpa takes the cake...although I am sure that might not be sure if I listen to some stories from this dude.

Trac~ said...

Thanks for sharing the story - you know, these things don't just happen by accident! You were meant to call him, whether you realize it or not! :o) My grandfather is a WWII veteran as well and he is in his mid-80's but sadly is now in a nursing home due to Dementia. Love the story and love your blog! By the way - I am FROM Arkansas and lived there all my life until my husband's company relocated us to the Northeast - still miss "Home". Have a great rest of the week! Hugs, Trac~ :o)

Elle said...

That is a wonderful story. Your sweet nature comes through in your time spent chatting to a complete stranger. You made his day, for sure.

Candance said...

What a sweet story. You probably made Ed's day.

And, Honey, calling random people in a small Arkansas town is probably not actually an exercise in futility because, odds are, the person you will call on accident will either know or be related to the person you are looking for. I'm from Arkansas, so trust me on this. Case in point: At age 18 in G.P., TX I began dating a boy (grown ass man, but whatever) and, in talking we realized that we were from neighboring AR towns, so I told that boy (grown-ass man dating a child) that we probably should not date because there was a good chance we were related. He said that's just a rumor-not everyone in AR is related. But, to make sure, I asked my mama if we were related to any people with his last name from that town and she, thankfully, said no, but then said, "Is that so-in-so's boy?" so I asked him and he, not surprisingly, said yes. Turns out his family and my family were close.

See what I mean?

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