My two years in the blogosphere
I am now embarking on my third year as a blogger. In the past two years I have published 127 posts, probably with enough total wordage to fill a small book. When I began blogging, I was concerned whether anyone would ever find and read the stuff that I would be writing. To my surprise, countless readers have appeared, often responding with comments. They have revived the spirit of a burned-out, geriatric, retired journalist.
Some of my experiences in the blogosphere have been extraordinary and wholly unanticipated. For example, I wrote a piece about having been in the same college economics class with Alan Greenspan 60 years ago. In the piece, I casually praised our professor as a stimulating lecturer.
I received a comment, which I published, from a man who had also been the professor's student. He had a different recollection. He remembered the professor as a windbag and a bore. Within days came a stinging response from another reader of my blog--the professor's grandson, who aggressively came to his deceased grandfather's defense and blasted the critic.
Another interesting experience resulted from a piece about a Soviet air force colonel who had defected to the U.S. after World War II and had eventually become a writer for Newsweek magazine. In the late 1950s, we became friends during a Pentagon press junket to visit U.S. military bases in Europe.
I was amazed to receive e-mail messages from his son and daughter. Their father had died while they were young, and they were eager to learn more about him. I had a lengthy and enjoyable phone conversation with the daughter, reminiscing about her father.
Then there was the appearance of a second cousin I didn't know existed. Out of curiosity, he had typed his mother's uncommon maiden name into Google. He was eventually directed to my blog. My maternal grandmother bore the same maiden name and it showed up in one of my family memoirs.
It turned out that my maternal grandmother and the stranger's maternal grandfather were siblings. To bolster this new family connection, the man's maternal grandmother, whom I had known as a child, was the midwife who delivered me.
And then there was the case of a World War II pilot who had been stationed in India. He Googled the name of an obscure village where he had been stationed and also wound up on my blog. I had spent three months at the same base, and had recorded my experiences there in another memoir.
This blog has essentially been divided into two sections. I identify one group of postings as "Memoirs." In these autobiographical sketches, I recall my life experiences as a war veteran, working journalist, and as a first-generation American who grew up in an immigrant family in New York City.
To my distress, my short-term memory is increasingly failing. But for reasons that I cannot fathom, I have been able to dredge up detailed bits of minutiae and trivia of my life which provide raw material for this blog. Thus the blog has apparently been functioning as a psychological stimulus for me.
I once started out to write a full-length autobiography, but never got much beyond my high school days. My hope is that these collected blog postings labeled "Memoirs" will be a record for my three grandsons and provide the kind of personal family history that wasn't left behind by my own grandfathers, neither of whom I ever knew.
The second section of my blog is basically composed of editorials in which I express my opinions about current events. I have not been bashful about my opinions, and I have been happy to learn that the majority of my readers seem to agree with my political views. Of course, I also hear from dissidents.
I publish their critical comments and have provoked some stimulating Internet debate on important issues of the day. What could be a better reward for two years of blogging?