Saturday, February 14, 2009

A blogger's anniversary and unexpected gifts

This month I am beginning the fifth year of publishing this blog. When I began in 2005, I had no idea who if anyone would ever read the stuff that I write. I also wondered whether there was anything of social value to justify my efforts.

In the past two days, I have been delighted to receive unexpected evidence of the merits of blogging. I regard the evidence as anniversary gifts for the blog.

On April 14, 2005, only two months after I started Octogenarian, I posted a story entitled "Reflections on a 64-year Old Photo." Accompanying the text was a picture taken in the spring of 1944 at a U.S. Army base in India showing nine GIs posing in front of a volley ball net outside their barracks. I was one of the soldiers.

In the text I identified each man and revealed as much personal background of each one that I could still remember. Considering the declining state of my memory as a 84-year old, I am still astonished at what I was able to recall about most of the GIs in the photo.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a woman named Elizabeth Elfring, who identified herself as the daughter of Marlan J. Miller, one of the men pictured. He was one of my closest buddies in our outfit, the 903rd Signal Co., about whom I was able to recall considerable detail. Perhaps that was because we had had a reunion about 30 years ago at his home in Arizona, when my wife and I were on a tour of the Grand Canyon.

"What a great thing to find something about his his life, remembered in such a fond way," Ms. Elfring wrote, commenting on my blog posting. She revealed sadly that her father had died in July, a month shy of turning 85. "He had a rich life, full of music, art and friends," she said.

Then she really made my day, closing her e-mail message: "Thank you for opening a door into the life of my father."

Today, by an odd coincidence, I received an e-mail from Ronni Bennett, who publishes "Time Goes By," a valuable web site devoted to aging. Her site contains a regular feature entitled "Elder Storytelling Place." I had submitted my blog posting about the 64-year old Army photo to her, and she published it last August.

Ronni forwarded a comment that she had just received from a man identified only as John E. He identified himself as a younger brother of Marlan Miller. He said he "had been born the year the photo was taken!" [The photo can be seen on Ronni's web site; it has mysteriously vanished from my own blog archives.]

"Marlan was very reluctant to discuss his Army experiences with his family," John wrote. "So this photo and your brief mention of him is a delight! Thanks for posting it."

I regard the kind comments of Marlan Miller's daughter and brother as gifts to celebrate Octogenarian's fourth anniversary. They demonstrate how worthwhile the blogosphere has become as a social institution.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm continually amazed by the people who find me online. You're right - amazingly worthwhile and how our lives have changed due to the blogosphere.

I'm glad I could be a small part of this.

Saturday, February 14, 2009 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Lydia said...

Happy Blogoversary, Mort. I, for one, feel richer for the stories I read here. Your two messages from Marlan Miller's family are powerful links to an old friendship, and never would have happened without your blog.

My first blogoversary is the 25th of this month. Unfortunately, I mentioned that it is this month in my latest post and I've already received a few congrats. I still plan on doing a post about it on the actual day. If you see my Valentine's Day post you will read about one remarkable relationship that I have formed in the last year as a result of my blog!

I read your post out loud to my husband just now and he enjoyed it also. Thank you for sharing and, again, I'm so glad you began and continued your blog!

Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:00:00 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

Congratulations on your blogiversary, and for bringing some of your memories to light for a new generation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger Sylvia K said...

Oh, Mort, how wonderful for you and Marlan Miller's family! And what a great anniversary present! Blogging really is such an incredible experience and brings so many wonderful things, people, stories together. And the joy of being able to share so many things with so many others. You've been such an inspiration to me since I started blogging just last July. Your kind comments on my early posts were a great incentive to continue blogging. Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

Happy Blogoversary, Mort!!! I hope to be reading you for a long, long time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009 3:31:00 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

What a wonderful result from one photo. I am glad you made contact with relatives of your buddy.

It is amazing to me that I am making friends in other countries from my blog. I haven't heard from anyone from my past as yet, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, February 16, 2009 9:47:00 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

P. S. Happy Fourth Blogiversary,

Monday, February 16, 2009 9:48:00 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Happy Blogging Anniversary! It is always a pleasure to read what you've written!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 1:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I also started my blog in 2005 and Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By was one of the first blogs I frequented. From her blog list I have found many blog sites that interest me. Yours included of course.

Happy 4th anniversary. May you have many more.

Friday, February 27, 2009 4:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Dirk said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 12:33:00 PM  

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