There I was … minding my own business. Suddenly, I hear the familiar “knock knock knock” on my cell phone, letting me know that I have an email. Hmm. That’s weird. It’s from someone I’ve never heard of, but the subject line is “John Gallagher.” Hey, I know a John Gallagher! That’s my Grampa!
Turns out the email is from an attorney who practices elder law (wills, estates, etc.) in New York. He has a client who says she was a high school classmate of my grandfather’s. Wait … what? Yeah, apparently his client was thinking about him one day and wondered how he was doing. The attorney wanted to know if I could provide some information for her and possibly provide information for her to contact me.
Now I’m going to backtrack just a second. How did he find me? Well, his client told him several things that she remembered about him … he was a motorcycle policeman in Ridgefield, New Jersey and his family lived on Virgil Avenue. He plugged this information into Google, which led him to my blog. This one. Right here! So he emailed me. (Okay, as far as we know she’s not a cousin – but at least my blog is doing its job, right?)
Okay – back to the story. Of course, I was skeptical. Here was someone I don’t know purporting to be a lawyer with a client who was a classmate of my grandfather’s, seeking information. After a pseudo background check, I determined this guy was probably on the up-and-up, but I still wanted to keep my personal information private. I replied to his email, explaining my hesitation at providing my private contact information and only provided my cell phone number. If he wanted my address or anything else, he would just have to wait until I confirmed that this woman is indeed who she says she is. Meanwhile, I had to break the news that my grandfather had passed away in February 1990.
Fortunately, he completely understood my reluctance. He explained that his client was (obviously) quite elderly, in failing health, and had a full-time caregiver who was on vacation at that time. He told me that he would wait until she returned before he gave the bad news to his client, since there was no way to tell how she would react to the information. Then he would work with us both to arrange a time to speak by phone because “she will certainly be eager to speak with you.”
Excited? Uh … yeah!
I passed the news along to my maternal relatives in our Facebook group, asking if any of them have ever heard of this woman. My aunt nonchalantly pipes up, “oh, I have his old high school yearbook if that will help.” Oh. Em. Gee. I immediately ask her to send it to me so I can scan it and send it back.
I’m looking forward to hearing from this mysterious classmate, and hoping that she has some interesting stories to tell (and photos to share)! I also can’t wait to see that yearbook!
This is very exciting indeed.Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com
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