By Scott Ryan
Every week I go through the same routine: I look for any classmates who might have checked in, I keep searching for the ones we can’t find, and I make about a dozen calls the same time each week.
Some weeks are more successful than others. One week saw me reach five people. Another was a complete bust–I didn’t make contact with a single person. Regardless of how fruitful a week might be, there is one constant: A woman’s voice. She’s there every week, talking directly into my ear. I know what she’s going to say, sometimes even before she says it. Her message varies slightly from call to call, but her inflection is the same:
“I’m sorry, but the number you’ve dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service.”
And therein lies my frustration. When I locate information for someone, I try to do my homework and make sure I’ve got the right person before I call. I’ve only had a few wrong numbers, yet dozens of disconnected ones. I’m guessing that people have just moved and I don’t have their most current address and phone number.
But the news isn’t all glum. I recently put two long-lost classmates in touch with each other. They had each been wondering what had happened to the other one. A good deed for the day.
I should point out that virtually everyone I have contacted has been nice, even if we didn’t know each other in school. But when it comes to returning messages, the response rate has been pretty low–less than five percent. The same goes for emails. It makes me doubt my efforts, and whether I got the right person. I’m just hoping that people are busy and put it on their to-do list.
When I started, I was worried that I was going to lose track of all the responses. Now, more than 60 percent of the way toward my goal, I can see that the real challenge is keeping track of my own notes, remembering who I’ve called and when. A definite test of my organizational skills. It’s a test I seem to be cramming for every week.
*About this blog: Scott is a 1988 graduate of Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Va. and is blogging about his experience ahead of his 25th high school reunion in 2013. You can contact Scott at 248-945-9950 or via email at email@example.com. Please put “The Reunion Project” in the subject line.